WOMEN ARTISTS OF COLOR

A Bio-Critical Sourcebook to 20th Century Artists in the Americas
Phoebe Farris,

3

African American Women Artists

Phoebe Farris

Kathryn Kramer

Nadine Wasserman

There is no doubt that artists of color, both male and female, historically have been excluded or marginalized by art history textbooks and art world institutions. The recent prevailing climate of multiculturalism has done much to revise the canonical devotion to white male artists at the expense of all others, especially women of color. Yet precisely because of their historical exclusion from the mainstream, the mere inclusion of African American women artists in greater numbers by publications and by exhibitions is insufficient for their proper appreciation. Their work must be considered in terms of race and gender not only because such issues occasioned their exclusion in the first place but also because they themselves focus their work as well as their roles as artists around these societal topics. Many label themselves as “Afrofemcentric"—that is, their art and their lives are devoted to representing black women. Most write critically about their own and fellow black women artists' work. Most devote a great deal of their professional practices to art education, especially on behalf of the African American community. Many have founded galleries, art centers, archives, and major museums on behalf of African and African American arts. Almost a century's worth of this kind of advocacy is resulting at last in major monographs, solo retrospectives, and group exhibitions, and many of the artists who are included in this chapter have now received “canonical status.”

However, canonization is meaningless if the significant public relations work that has taken place so effectively at the margins is now disregarded in favor of merely featuring the biographies and works of a collection of individual artists. The artists who are profiled in this volume have created new cultural spaces of representation for themselves and others through efforts that emphasize collectivity over autonomous art production, and a critical examination of these consolidated efforts and their spaces should also be part of the canon. If the full story of the creation and promotion of art by African American women is excluded from mainstream presentations, emerging African American women artists therefore may moderate their practice of dealing unashamedly with issues particular to their identities. While their progenitors may enjoy discussion and perhaps a full-color reproduction in the latest art history surveys, their hard work will nonetheless be wasted if the canon is not expanded to include the presentation of an informed, critical process that resulted in its new, inclusive environment.

Much of the work of contemporary artists, then, must continue to identify the significance of the intersections of race, gender, and class in their lives, to reclaim their own subjectivity, and to celebrate their cultural heritage. In counteracting stereotypes and preconceived notions about black womanhood, these young artists will demonstrate the ongoing need to promote an understanding of the complexities of their experiences, to confirm that there is no monolithic black female experience. It is essential that these artists and their critics persist in producing material that presents the pertinent information and promotes the critical debate necessary not only for expanding the canon but also for changing its fundamental structure.

Amos, Emma

Born: 1938, Atlanta, Georgia. Education: B.A., Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, 1959. London Central School of Art, 1960. Masters in Art, New York University, 1966. Slade School of Art, London, (attended) 1960. Family: Parents Miles and India Amos owned a drugstore on Atlanta's West Side where she grew up with her brother Larry. In 1965 she married Bobby Levine. They have a son, Nicholas, and daughter, India. Career: Teaches textile design at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. Co-hosts crafts show on WGBH, Boston. Professor of Art, Mason Gross School of Art, Rutgers University. Writes and produces Artists Helping Artists video through Rutgers University Research Council Grant, 1986. Awards: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1983. Artist-in-Residence, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, 1986. New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, 1989. New York City Board of Education Public Art Commission, 1991. Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Bellagio, Italy, 1993.

Exhibitions

1994 New Work, Art in General, New York, New York
1993 Emma Amos: Paintings and Prints 1982–92, The College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, Ohio (traveling show)
1992 Odyssey, The Pump House Gallery, City of Hartford, Bushnell Park Foundation, Connecticut, Clarion University, Clarion, Pennsylvania
1991 The Falling Series, The Bronx Museum, New York, New York; Recent Paintings, The Mcintosh Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
1990 The Wild Blue Yonder Series, The Newark Museum, New Jersey; Paintings from the WildBlue Yonder Series, Zimmerman/Saturn Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee
1989 Zimmerman/Saturn Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee; The Water Series, Ingrid Cusson Gallery, New York, New York, Clemson University Gallery, Genoa, Italy; Paintings, Douglass College Women Artists Series, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
1988 The Water Series, Isobel Neal Gallery, Chicago, Illinois; Meet the Artist Series: Emma Amos, Jersey City Museum, New Jersey; Works on Paper, Shifflett Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1987 The Water Series, Parker/Bratton Gallery, New York, New York
1986 Galleri Oscar, Stockholm, Sweden
1983 Jazzonia Galleries, Detroit, Michigan, and Cleveland, Ohio
1980 Gallery 62, National Urban League, New York, New York
1979 Paintings and Prints, The Art Salon, New York, New York
1974 Prints, Davis Fine Arts Gallery, West Virginia State College, Institute, West Virginia
1960 New Arts Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; Prints, Alexander Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

Selected Group Exhibitions

1996 Bearing Witness: Contemporary Work by African American Women Artists, Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia
1993 At the Heart of Change: Women Artists Explore Color and Culture, Kennesaw State College Library Art Gallery, Kennesaw, Georgia; My/Self: Your/Other, Castle Gallery, College of New Rochelle, New York
1992 Expanding the Circle, The Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Prince ton, New Jersey; Dream Singers, Story Tellers: An African-American Presence, Fukui Fine Arts Museum, Japan, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey
1991 Diversity and Strength: Six Contemporary Black Artists, Kennesaw State College Library Art Gallery, Kennesaw, Georgia; African American Works on Paper, New Visions Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia (traveling show); Presswork: The Art of Women Printmakers, Lang Communications Corporate Collection (traveling show)
1990 The Decade Show, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, New York; Black Women in the Arts, Montclair State College Gallery, Montclair, New Jersey
1989 Selections: Six Contemporary African American Artists, Williams College Museum, Williamstown, Massachusetts; Homefront, DIA Foundation, New York, New York; Lines of Vision: Drawings by Contemporary Women, Hillwood Art Gallery, Long Island University, Brookville, New York, and U.S. Information Agency (traveling show); Directions: African American Artists Now, Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Connecticut
1988 Autobiography: In Her Own Image, INTAR Gallery, New York (traveling show); Committed to Print, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York (traveling show); Coast to Coast: A Women of Color National Artist's Book Project, Jamaica Art Center, New York, New York (traveling show)
1987 Works on Paper, Landskrona Art Hall, Landskrona, Sweden; Masters and Pupils: The Education of the Black Artist in New York 1900–1980, Jamaica Art Center, New York, New York; Forward View, Squibb Gallery, Princeton, New Jersey; The Afro-American Artist in the Age of Cultural Pluralism, Montclair Museum of Art, Montclair, New Jersey; Connection Project, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, New York
1986 Progressions, A Cultural Legacy, The Clocktower, New York, New York
1985 The Handworked Image, Associated American Artists, New York, New York
1984 Art in Print: A Tribute to Robert Blackburn, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York; Celebrations: Eight Afro-American Artists Selected by Romare Bearden, Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York
1983 Jus' Jass: Correlations of Painting and Afro-American Classical Music, Kenkeleba House, New York, New York
1982 The Wild Art Show, P.S. 1, Long Island City, New York
1980 Fragments of Myself/The Women, Douglass College Art Gallery, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey; International Collection, Associated American Artists, New York, New York
1979 Black Artists/South, Huntsville Museum, Alabama; Impressions/Expressions, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (traveling show)
1970 Afro-American Artists: New York and Boston, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts
1968 30 Contemporary Black Artists, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota (traveling show)
1964 The Spiral, Christopher Street Gallery, New York, New York

Permanent Collections

Colgate-Palmolive Collection, New York, New York; The Columbia Museum, Columbia, South Carolina; Dade County Museum of Art, Florida; Franklin Furnace, New York, New York; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, New Jersey; Johnson and Johnson Inc., New Brunswick, New Jersey; Lang Communications, New York, New York; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Minnesota Museum of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey; Schomburg Collection, New York Public Library, New York, New York; Skandinaviska Enskilda Bankn, Stockholm, Sweden; Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi; Tulsa Civic Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma; United States Embassy, London, England; West Virginia State College, Institute, West Virginia

Publications

The Afro-American Artist in the Age of Cultural Pluralism. Montclair, N.J.: Montclair Museum of Art, 1987. Exhbn cat.

“Album: Committed to Print.” Arts Magazine (March 1988), pp. 104–105.

Amos, Emma. “The Art of Education.” Heresies 25 (1990).

Amos, Emma. “Contemporary Art Issues.” M/E/A/N/I/N/G: Contemporary Art Issues 12 (1992).

Amos, Emma. “Contemporary Views on Racism in the Arts.” M/E/A/N/I/N/G: Contemporary Art Issues 7 (May 1990).

Amos, Emma. “Do's and Don'ts for Art Students.” Heresies 25 (1990).

Amos, Emma. “Fomm 1989.” M/E/A/N/I/N/G: Contemporary Art Issues 5 (May 1989).

Amos, Emma. “Juicy Overflowing Studios: Questions Too Rude to Ask Older Artists.” Art and Artists (November 1982).

Amos, Emma. “Letters: Invisible Woman.” New York Times, April 23, 1989. Amos, Emma. “Satire.” Heresies 19 (1986).

Amos, Emma. “Some Do's and Don'ts for Black Women Artists.” Heresies 15 (1982).

Amos, Emma. “You Must Remember This.” Guest curator, Jersey City Museum, N.J., 1992.

At the Heart of Change: Women Artists Explore Color and Culture. Kennesaw, Ga.: Kennesaw State College Library Art Gallery, 1993. Exhbn cat.

Autobiography: In Her Own Image. New York: INTAR Gallery, 1988. Exhbn cat.

Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists. Atlanta, Ga.: Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, 1996. Exhbn cat.

Colby, Joy Hakanson. “Exhibits: Through Women's Eyes.” The Detroit News, February 15, 1991.

The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in the 1980s. New York: The New Museum, 1990. Exhbn cat.

Emma Amos: Paintings and Prints 1982–92. Wooster, Ohio: College of Wooster Art Museum, 1993. Exhbn cat.

Glueck, Grace. “Art News: Art Power.” New York Times, March 10, 1968.

Hess, Elizabeth. “Breaking and Entering.” Village Voice, June 5, 1990.

Langer, Cassandra. “Women at the Cutting Edge …” Women Artists' News (Fall 1988), pp. 26–27.

Lippard, Lucy. “Floating Falling Landing: An Interview with Emma Amos.” Art Papers (November-December 1991), pp. 13–16.

Lippard, Lucy. Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America. New York: Pantheon, 1990.

Odyssey. Atlanta, Ga.: Atlanta Arts Festival, 1988. Exhbn cat.

Raven, Arlene. “Colored.” Village Voice, May 31, 1988.

Raven, Arlene. “Laws of Falling Bodies: Emma Amos, 'The Falling Series.' “Village Voice, May 7, 1991, p. 86.

Raynor, Vivien. “ 'Forward View at the Squibb': An Abundance of Ethnicity.” New York Times, April 5, 1987.

Ringgold, Faith. The Wild Art Show. Long Island City, N.Y.: P.S. 1, 1982. Exhbn cat.

Rowe, Claudia. “Emma Amos.” Cover (Summer 1989), p. 15.

Shepard, Joan. “The Arts Community.” The Daily News, March 6, 1987.

Siegel, Jeanne. “Why Spiral?” Art News (September 1966), pp. 48–51, 67–68.

Smith, Roberta. “Art: 'Committed to Print.' “ New York Times, February 5, 1988.

“TV Craft Series Gets Big Hand from Boston Viewers …” Craft Horizons (December 1977).

Watkins, Eileen. “Black Artists Link Talents into 'Circle.' “ Star Ledger, February 7, 1992.

Yalkut, Jud. “The Medium and the Message: 'Committed to Print.' “ Dialogue (January-February 1989), p. 13.

Zimmer, Wilham. “A Catalyst for Sophistication.” New York Times, February 9, 1992.

Zimmer, William. “When Deep Memories Are Unshakeable.” New York Times, April 12, 1992.

Biographical Essay

As a child Emma Amos always wanted to be an artist, and she taught herself to draw by copying pictures from books and magazines. She was encouraged by her parents, and her talents were confirmed when she won poster contests in elementary school. At the age of 11 she received special permission to take an oil painting course at Morris Brown College. Later, she majored in art at Antioch College in Ohio. It was there that she began to experience a heightened race awareness. The mostly white student body contrasted sharply with her upbringing in Atlanta, where she went to all-black schools and was raised in an all-black community surrounded by African American colleges such as Spelman and Morehouse. Amos was well aware of the existence of a black intelligentsia since her father, who worked in the family drugstore, knew and read many works by African American scholars and writers. Zora Neale Hurston often visited with her father on her trips through Atlanta, and even W.E.B. Du Bois once came to the house.

When Amos was 19 she moved to London for a year and a half to study. It was there that she experienced a different kind of awareness because the English had an aversion to all foreigners, regardless of race. With that came a certain kind of freedom that she had not experienced in the United States. She returned to Antioch to graduate and then went back to London and later graduated from the Central School of Art, where she majored in printmaking. After London, Amos moved back to Atlanta, and in 1960, at the age of 23, she moved to New York. There she met Sylvan Cole, director of Associated American Artists Gal lery, who began to show some of her prints. After working as an assistant teacher at the Dalton School, she got a job as a weaver/designer with Dorothy Liebs, creating rugs, upholstery, blinds, and dress fabrics. She worked with her from 1961 to 1973 and while working returned to school in 1964 at New York University, where she met Hale Woodruff, whom her mother had known in Atlanta. Amos's mother had asked Woodruff, who was then teaching at Atlanta University, to instruct her young daughter, but he had not at the time taken her seriously. Now he remembered Amos and became her mentor, although she did not take any classes with him. He introduced her to the Spiral Group, which was founded by Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis in 1963 and included other artists such as Merton Simpson, Charles Alston, and Al Hollingsworth. She was invited to join and became their youngest member and first female member. They met regularly once a week to talk about their work and other pertinent topics such as Negritude. She continued to exhibit with them until their last meetings in 1967.

For a time in the late 1960s Amos protested what she saw as a trend toward separatism by declining her own inclusion in all-black shows, but she soon realized that this meant she would have little opportunity to show at all. In 1974 she began teaching textile design at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. Since she was teaching weaving during the crafts craze of the 1970s, she came up with the idea for a television show called Show of Hands, which she co-hosted with a quiltmaker. The program, which ran for 13 half-hour episodes, was aired in 1977 and 1978 by WGBH Educational Television, Boston, and covered a range of techniques including weaving, woodworking, stained glass, ceramics, and jewelry.

In 1980 Amos became Assistant Professor of Art at the Mason Gross School of Art, Rutgers University. In 1982 she began to use acrylic paint and started painting male athletes paired with wild animals, then turned to images of women runners also combined with powerful animals as symbols of independence and strength. Her work clearly references African American culture and reinforces the importance of cultural heritage and the need for self-definition. In 1985–1986 Amos began The Water Series. Inspired by the absence of black swimmers in the 1984 Olympics, she began to paint images of African American men and women swimming and diving. There is an undercurrent of anxiety in these works similar to the The Falling Series of 1988–1992, which expresses her concerns about helplessness and the loss of history. However, many of the works are about retrieving history. In the work Thurgood and TheloniusSome Names to Name Your Children (1989), she has painted falling figures with no apparent safe place on which to land. However, names such as Thurgood, Thelonius, Bessie, Langston, Duke, amd Miles flank the bodies, referencing important historical figures and reinforcing a strong and solid African American history that grounds the young people hurtling through space. Also, she incorporates an important aesthetic device that she began in the early 1980s. She borders her paintings with strips of her own hand weaving or African cloth. This technique began as an act of cutting up her own work to recreate her identity and to secure her narratives. By later using African cloth, she makes reference to heritage and gives the falling figures a cultural and historical foundation. She also questions differences between art and craft.

Amos is both a painter and a printmaker. When she had small children, she joined the Printmaking Workshop and was encouraged by Bob Blackburn to continue working. Her monoprints and collagraphs bring together her interest in printmaking and the abstract expressionist quality she could achieve with paint. In 1988 Amos applied the monoprint technique to an autobiographical series called Odyssey. These works are acts of self-recovery and celebration. Another important series is The Gift, begun in 1990, which is a group of portraits of her women artist friends that she gave to her daughter India for her twentieth birthday. They portray the power of women artists and the support network Amos had from them. Amos came late to feminism because she did not have any female role models. But she is committed to political activism and to art. For a time she joined the editorial board of Heresies, a feminist journal on art, and has curated several shows including Hanging Loose at the Port Authority for Port Authority Bus Terminal (1984).

Amos's works are a mixture of figurative, surreal, and abstract expressionism. She is interested in portraying African American issues and in investigating notions of race and gender. Her work depicts movement and color, both important elements because they relate to transition, ethnicity, and history. Her figures often drift or float amidst her expressionist backgrounds. Ultimately, her work suggests the possibility of change and the hopes of the future as well as the past.

Billops, Camille

Born: 1934, Los Angeles, California. Education: B.A., California State College, 1960. M.F.A., City College of New York, 1973. Career. Filmmaker, sculptor, ceramist, painter, archivist, publisher. Awards: Huntington Hartford Foundation Fellowship, 1963. MacDowell Colony Fellowship, 1975. International Women's Year Award, 1975–1976. Best Documentary, Sundance Film Festival, 1992. National Endowment for the Arts—Artists Fellowship in Filmmaking, 1994. The James VanDerZee Award, 1994. Village Voice Off-Broadway (OBIE) Award, Special Citation for Distinguished Contributions to Off-Broadway Theatre, 1997.

Selected Exhibitions

1997 Inside the Minstrel Mask, Noel Fine Art Acquisitions, Charlotte, North Carolina
1991 Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, Oakland, California
1990 Clark College, Atlanta, Georgia
1986 Calkins Gallery, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
1983 American Center, Karachi, Pakistan; Pescadores Hsien Library, Mak- ung. Republic of China
1980 Buchandlung Welt, Hamburg, Germany
1977 Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
1973 Ornette Coleman's Artist House, New York, New York
1965 Gallerie Akhenaton, Cairo, Egypt

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 Women in Full Effect, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, New York
1992 Prized Pieces: International Video and Film Festival, National Black Program Consortium, Columbus, Ohio
1988 I938-I988: The Work of Five Black Women Artists, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; McIntosh Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; Through a Master Printer: Robert Blackburn and the Printmaking Workshop, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina
1987 The Black Women Independent: Representing Race and Gender, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
1983 New Directors/New Films, The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
1976 Jubilee: Afro-American Artists on Afro-America, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

Selected Collections

The Cochran Collection, LaGrange, Georgia; Museum of Drawers, Bern, Switzerland; Paul R. Jones Collection, Atlanta, Georgia; Photographers Gallery, London, England; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York

Publications

Bontemps, Arna Alexander, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1862–1980. Normal, Ill.: The Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University, 1980.

Boyle, Donald. Black Arts Annual 1987/1988. New York: Garland Publishing, 1989.

Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey. Women Filmmakers of the African and Asian Diaspora. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1997.

hooks, bell. “An Interview with Camille Billops.” In Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies. London: Routledge, 1996.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Lekatsas, Barbara. “Encounters: The Film Odyssey of Camille Billops.” Black American Literature Forum (Summer 1991).

Lewis, Samella. African-American Art and Artists. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990.

Powell, Richard J. Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Robinson, Jontyle Theresa. Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists. Atlanta, Ga.: Spelman Museum of Fine Art, 1996.

Artist Statement (1996) 1

I don't know if I am that conscious of it, but some people say that our films have a tendency toward dirty laundry. The films say it like it is, rather than how people want it to be. Maybe it is my character that tends to want to do that, because I think the visual arts [artist?] in me wants to say the same kind of thing. So I don't know if I consciously did it; I think it is just my own spirit.

Note

1. From bell hooks, “An Interview with Camille Billops,” in Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 141.

Biographical Essay

Although she began her career as a sculptor, ceramist, and painter, Billops is best known as a filmmaker of the black diaspora. In recent years Billops has collaborated with her husband James Hatch, an English professor and expert in African American theater history, on a series of films marked for their brutally frank depiction of her life and the life of her family (Suzanne, Suzanne, 1981; Older Women and Love, 1987; Finding Christa, 1991). Gwendolyn Foster has aptly described Billops's work as “film therapy,” but such terminology does not imply that these films are forms of self-indulgent autobiography. On the contrary, they blend objective and subjective perspectives through a mixture of archival footage from her parents' home movies, her own interviews of family members, and scripted dramatizations, resulting in portrayals both intimate and dispassionate. For example, the award-winning Finding Christa (1991) is a wrenching, unadulterated account of Billops's search for and reunion with the daughter whom she gave up for adoption at the age of four. The bare outline of this broken-home scenario is the paradigmatic stuff of stereotypical black family life, but Billops's self-presentation in the film as a middle-class, educated artist who after mature consideration decides to pursue career over motherhood interferes with any programmed expectation of black-single-mother-as-victim. Instead, Finding Christa challenges the viewer to rethink not only the nature of black female subjectivity but also the nature of motherhood itself. Billops is currently working on another one of her signature hybrid “documentaries of self-knowledge,” String of Pearls, which will probe the life of her stepfather. In The KKK Boutique Ain't Just Rednecks (1994), Billops departed from her family as subject to examine with typical straightforwardness the ways in which “political correctness” has caused racism to adapt and to mutate.

The spirit of collaboration and giving that characterizes her filmmaking also marks Billops's social commitment to black visual and literary arts. Her generous gifts of herself and her art enrich and expand the contemporary art world. She mentors and supports black, particularly female, artists, an activity painter Emma Amos commemorated by including Billops in her series of 40 portraits of women artists and supporters of the arts entitled The Gift (acrylic on paper, 1990). With her husband, James V. Hatch, Billops founded the Hatch-Billops Collection: Archives of Black American Cultural History in New York City. The Hatch-Billops Collection comprises slides, photographs, oral histories, and books on black artists and art history; it is an invaluable resource and, as bell hooks describes it, “an alternative cultural space, which [Billops shares] with everybody.” The Collection also publishes Artist and Influence, an annual selection of the oral histories in its archives. Billops has served as the coeditor (with Kellie Jones, curator/critic) for an important anthology of writings on black artists by poets, novelists, art critics, and art historians (special issue of Black American Literature Forum, 1985) and as an adviser (with Robert Blackburn, printmaker) in the formation of important collections of black art such as the Wes and Missy Cochran Collection (LaGrange, Georgia).

Burke Selma Hortense

Born: 1900, Mooresville, North Carolina. Education: M.F.A., Columbia University, 1941. Ph.D., Livingstone College, North Carolina, 1970. Career: Sculptor, ceramist, arts administrator, educator. Awards: Julius Rosenwald Foundation Fellowship, 1935. Boehler Foundation Fellowship, 1936. Yaddo Foundation Fellowship, 1955. Honorary Doctorate, Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina, 1955. Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1977. Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1979. Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina, 1979. Ambassador of Bucks County, Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, 1979. Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts, Women's Caucus for Art, presented by President Jimmy Carter, Washington, D.C., 1979. Pearl S. Buck Foundation Woman's Award, 1987. Essence Award, 1989. Died: 1995, New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Selected Exhibitions

1996 Austin Museum of Art, Austin, Texas
1992 Kingsley Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1990 Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Library, Austin, Texas
1958 Avant-Garde Gallery, New York, New York
1952 Artists Gallery, New York, New York
1945 Carlem Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Modernage Gallery, New York, New York
1941 McMillan Galleries, New York, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1996 African-Americans in the Visual Arts: A Historical Perspective, B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, Long Island University, C. W. Post Campus, New York; Three Generations of African-American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox, The Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1993 African-American Women Artists Prints, Brandywine Workshop's Printed Image Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1989 Group Exhibition, Genest Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Lambertville. New Jersey
1985 Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art, 1800–1950, Bellevue Museum of Art, Bellevue, Washington
1940 Exhibition of the Art of the American Negro, American Negro Exposition, Chicago, Illinois

Selected Collections

Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia; Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida; Dry Dock Savings Bank, New York City; Gulf Oil Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Howard University Gallery, Washington, D.C.; John Brown Association, Lake Placid, New York; Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina; Livingston College Library, Salisbury, North Carolina; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Modern Art, Miami, Florida; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; United States Armory, New York City; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Selected Publications

Bontemps, Ama Alexander, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1862–1980. Normal, III: The Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University, 1980.

Dover, Cedric. American Negro Art. Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1960.

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1993.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

LeBlanc, Michael L., ed. Contemporary Black Biography. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1992.

Lenihan, Mary L. “Creating a New Black Image.” In Ilene Susan Fort, ed., The Figure in American SculptureA Question of Modernity. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1995.

Lewis, Samella. African-American Art and Artists. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990.

Negro Heritage Committee. Afro-American Women in Art: Their Achievements in Sculpture and Painting. Greensboro, N.C.: Negro Heritage Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 1969.

Porter, James. Modern Negro Art. 1943. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1992.

Robinson, Jontyle Theresa. Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists. Atlanta, Ga.: Spelman Museum of Fine Art and Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1996.

Schwalb, Harry. “Without Color.” ARTnews (September 1994), p. 27.

“Selma Burke.” Ebony (March 1947), p. 32.

Smith, Jessie Carney, ed. Notable Black American Women. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1992.

Spady, James G. “Three to the Universe: Selma Burke, Roy Decarava, Tom Feelings.” In Black History Museum Committee, ed., 9 to the Universe, Black Artists. 1983.

Artist Statement (1994) 1

Art didn't start black or white, it just started. There have been too many labels in this world: Nigger, Negro, Colored, Black, African-American.…Why do we still label people with everything except “children of God"?

Note

1. Harry Schwalb, “Without Color,” ARTnews (September 1994), p. 27.

Biographical Essay

Burke's biography is the stuff of “artist myth,” comprising most of the ingredients so essential to the legendary, such as premonition, eccentricity, brushes with greatness leading to one's own greatness, encounters with royalty and heads of state, reversals of fortune, risky adventure, longevity, and the attainment of magnanimous wisdom. That Burke herself had no small hand in the creation and maintenance of her legend only makes her all the more mythic, placing her squarely in the firmament of other canny self-promoting artists, including Pablo Picasso and Georgia O'Keeffe. A testament to Burke's mythopoetic prowess is the perpetuation of her myth by others since her death in 1995, most recently by storyteller and poet Shindana Cooper, who presented Burke's personal history through narrative, dance, and drumming in a 1996 performance entitled “Sand Art, Mud Pies, Dimes and a Promise” at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. There is even a Selma Burke Day celebrated in North Carolina, Burke's home state, and also in Pennsylvania, the adopted state of her late years, in recognition of her distinguished life of achievement in the arts.

Burke often described a youthful preoccupation with the muddy clay her mother collected for whitewash from the local creek, pressing the imprints of her palms in it, making mud pies, working it into little figures. She also recounted childlike delight in the impressions that coins made in the clay. These anecdotes serve as early harbingers of her future career as a sculptor and specifically of her portrait of Franklin Roosevelt, which was adapted for the U.S. dime. Yet her enlightened family background is more likely responsible for her career than any elemental power she may have received from the pliant earth of her childhood. Both of her parents encouraged her interest in the arts, and her maternal grandmother was a painter. Before her father found his vocation in the Methodist ministry, he was a well-traveled chef, serving on several sea lines and collecting art wherever he went. Two paternal uncles had been missionaries in Africa in the late nineteenth century, confiscating native religious figures, masks, and other artifacts in the name of Christianity. When they died, their personal effects were returned to the Burkes in Mooresville, and their African art objects were part of the family's considerable art collection. The young Selma, then, was as immersed in the lessons of African and modern art as she was in North Carolina mud, as much a product of culture as nature and considerably younger than Picasso, who was having a similar immersion experience at around the same moment among the ethnographic collections and avant-garde art world of Paris.

Burke herself would not be able to simulate Picasso's early Parisian experience until she was approaching the age of 40, when she spent a year abroad during 1938–1939 to further her pursuit of a sculpture career. The factual details of her experiences in Europe are vague: She studied with sculptor Aristide Maillol in Paris and with ceramist Michael Powolny in Vienna. The mythic dimensions of Burke's year abroad, however, are vibrant: riding on a motorcycle behind photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson; making a pilgrimage to Montparnasse to seek guidance from Henri Matisse, who lauded her work; fleeing Austria in the wake of Hitler's invasion with a half-million dollars worth of jewels sewn into her clothing destined for the Quaker refugee offices in America.

Between her child's play in the mud and her jewel-laden flight from Nazis, Burke had become a registered nurse (her parents' encouragement of her art appreciation did not extend to an enthusiasm for a career in the arts); gained financial security as a private nurse to a wealthy, eccentric Otis elevator heiress; and met Claude McKay, a major Harlem Renaissance writer, with whom she had a tempestuous yet inspirational relationship until his death in 1948. Throughout her nursing career and years among the figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Burke tenaciously pursued her sculptural education, often supporting herself as a model. Long-term modeling work at Sarah Lawrence College, posing for Leon Kroll, Paul Manship, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Steichen, offered her the opportunity for more systematic art study than she had been able to complete up to this time. The portfolio of work she was able to assemble while at Sarah Lawrence led to the fellowships that would make her European travel possible. In 1941, Burke finally formalized her art education with a Master's of Fine Arts from Columbia University. While at Columbia, she forged a lasting friendship with fellow student Margo Einstein, daughter of Albert Einstein, and the Einstein family became staunch patrons of Burke's career from this point on. Her first solo exhibition was also in 1941.

Burke came into professional maturity during the Works Progress Administration (WPA) era, and she enjoyed its particular fruits in the form of teaching jobs at the Harlem Art Center, a model unit of the Federal Arts Project, and at various sculptural workshops and art clinics. Her work, as well, reflects the public character of WPA-era art, consisting to a great extent of sensitive and powerful portraits of black cultural and political leaders. Her best-known sculptural portrait by far is a bronze plaque bearing the bust profile of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which would become the model for Roosevelt's likeness on the U.S. dime. Burke won the commission to execute the plaque in a 1943 international competition sponsored by the Fine Arts Commission for the District of Columbia. With the bravado and humor typical of one who is accustomed to hobnobbing with the great and notable, Burke wrote the following to President Roosevelt after she discovered that there were no extant images of him in profile from which to work:

Dear Mr. President:

During the lifetime of President George Washington, the French sculptor, Houdon, was invited to come to this country. He travelled two months by boat. As you perhaps saw in the newspapers, I won the competition to do your bust. I live one hour by plane, two by railroad, and four by car. May I have a sitting with you?1

The president arranged for a sitting with Burke, and the original portrait now resides in the Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D.C., where it was originally installed in 1945.

Burke's mature style reflects her modernist training with Maillol and Po-wolny: It is primarily figurative, characterized by a streamlined idealism combined with her own adaptation of WPA-inspired social realism. She typically employs the direct carving method, working in stone and a variety of hard fruitwoods. Yet her stylistic modernism does not define her role as an artist in society. Burke was anything but an inhabitant of the realm of modernist autonomy, especially in her late years, when she worked tirelessly as an educator and benefactor of the arts, determined that others would not have to struggle as hard as she had done for an education and a career in the arts. To this end, Burke has established art schools, sponsored exhibitions for emerging black artists, served as a consultant to national and international arts foundations, and conducted art workshops for inner-city children. In her later years, she and her husband, architect and former candidate for lieutenant governor of New York Herman Kobbe, were the doyens of the artists' community of New Hope, Pennsylvania, where they moved in the 1950s and where Burke died at the age of 94 in 1995.

Note

1. National Archives and Records Administration, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.

Burroughs, Margaret Taylor

Born: 1917, St. Rose Parish, Louisiana. Education: B.F.A., 1944, and M.F.A., 1948, Art Institute of Chicago. Career: Painter, printmaker, writer, educator, museologist, social activist, humanitarian. Awards: National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, 1968. Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Lewis University, Lockport, Illinois, 1972. Young Women's Christian Association Leadership Award for Excellence in Art, 1973. Citation by President Jimmy Carter as one of the ten most outstanding black artists in the United States, 1980. Excellence in Art Award, National Association of Negro Museums, 1982. Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, 1987. Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, North Central College, Naperville, Illinois, 1988. Progressive Black Woman's Award, Enverite Charity Club, 1988. Women's Caucus for Art Honor Award, 1988. Women's History Month Award, John Hope Community Academy, 1992. Ida B. Wells Celebrated Elders Award, National Council of Black Studies, 1992. Recognition Award, African-American Cultural Coalition, 1992. Living Women Legends Award, Wordsongs, 1996. Human Resources Development Institute Seeds of Africa Award, 1997. 100 Black Men of Chicago Award, 1998.

Selected Exhibitions

1997 Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.
1994 Margaret Taylor Burroughs, Krannert Museum and Kinkhead Pavillion, Illinois University, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
1987 Margaret Taylor Burroughs: Prints, South Side Community Art Cen ter, Chicago, Illinois; Sapphire & Crystals, South Side Community Center, Chicago, Illinois
1986 Margaret Taylor Burroughs: 40 Years of Art, Nicole Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1945 Margaret Taylor Burroughs: Exhibition of Oils, Watercolors, Prints, Ceramics, South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, Illinois

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 Alone in a Crowd: Prints by African-American Artists of the 1930s-1940s from the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams, The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; Arts and Sciences Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
1988 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
1982 Evan-Tibbs Collection, Washington, D.C.
1981 Ten Outstanding Afro-American Artists, The White House, Washington, D.C.
1978 Black Artists, WPA-Chicago-New York, Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, New York
1976 Two Centuries of Afro-American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
1975 Highlights of the Atlanta University Collection, High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
1967 Friendship House, Moscow, United Soviet Socialist Republic
1965 International House Kook Art Exhibit, Leipzig, East Germany
1961 New Vistas in American Art, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
1952 Margaret Taylor Burroughs, Mexico City, Mexico
1949 San Francisco Civic Museum, San Francisco, California
1946 Atlanta Negro Exhibition, Atlanta, Georgia
1940 American Negro Exhibition, Chicago, Illinois

Selected Collections

Afrikan American Cultural Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina; Alabama A&M University Print Collection, Normal, Alabama; Atlanta University Art Collection, Atlanta, Georgia; Evans-Tibbs Collection, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Howard University Art Collection, Washington, D.C.; Jackson State College Art Collection, Jackson, Mississippi

Selected Publications

Atkinson, J. Edward. Black Dimensions in Contemporary American Art. New York: New American Library, 1971.

Bontemps, Ama Alexander, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1862–1980. Normal, Ill.: Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University, 1980.

Burroughs, Margaret Taylor. Africa, My Africa! Chicago: DuSable Museum Press, 1970.

Burroughs, Margaret Taylor. Did You Feed My Cow? Rhymes and Games from City Streets and Country Lanes. New York: Crowell, 1956.

Burroughs, Margaret Taylor. Jasper, the Drumming Boy. New York: Viking, 1947 (illustrated by Burroughs).

Burroughs, Margaret Taylor. Peter, the Crop-Sharer. New York: Board of Education, City of New York, 1940.

Burroughs, Margaret T. G. “The Four Artists.” In William E. Taylor and Harriet G. Warkel, eds., A Shared Heritage: Art by Four African Americans. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1996. pp. 13–15.

Burroughs, Margaret Taylor. What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black? MAAH Press, 1968.

Burroughs, Margaret Taylor. Whip Me Whop Me Pudding and Other Stories of Riley Rabbit and His Fabulous Friends. Praga Press, 1966.

Dover, Cedric. American Negro Art. Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1960.

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1993.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

“Lasting Impressions; In Margaret Burrough's Linocut Prints, a Lifetime of Art Distilled.” Washington Post, October 23, 1997, sec. B, pp. 3, 7.

LeBlanc, Michael L., ed. Contemporary Black Biography. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1992.

Negro Heritage Committee. Afro-American Women in Art: Their Achievements in Sculpture and Painting. Greensboro, N.C.: Negro Heritage Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 1969.

Randall, Dudley, and Margaret T. Burroughs, eds. For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1967.

Artist Statement (1961) 1

Every individual wants to leave a legacy, to be remembered for something positive they have done for their community. Long after I'm dead and gone the [DuSable] museum will still be here. A lot of black museums have opened up, but we're the only one that grew out of the indigenous black community. We weren't started by anybody downtown; we were started by ordinary folks.

Note

1. From Michael L. LeBlanc, ed., Contemporary Black Biography (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1992), p. 23.

Biographical Essay

Margaret Burroughs was born in Louisiana, but her family moved to Chicago when she was three years old. She was among the first wave of southern blacks to immigrate to Chicago, making it one of the liveliest sites in the United States for historical and contemporary African American culture. Her contributions extend not only into the realms of the visual and literary arts but also into a wide spectrum of humanitarian endeavor. As a thoroughly Chicago product whose poetry has been justly read into the Congressional Record by Senator Paul Simon of Illinois and whose name now graces a residence hall at the School of the Chicago Art Institute, her alma mater, Burroughs is truly a “Favorite Daughter” of Illinois.

Just as all the other women profiled in this chapter have done. Burroughs has created spaces of representation for art in addition to art itself. Undoubtedly, her most illustrious creation in this regard is the founding, with her husband the poet Charles Gordon Burroughs, of a museum of African American history and culture. In 1961, the couple established the Ebony Museum of African American History in their South Side Chicago home with a $10 charter. The collection of artifacts on display there proved to be such a popular and valued resource of African American heritage that Burroughs soon deemed it necessary to become a full-fledged museum director. Shortly after the museum's establishment. Burroughs found herself raising funds for an ever-growing collection of books, papers, memorabilia, and art as well as an expanding roster of associated educational programs, and finally, for facilities capable of housing what is today the oldest and largest museum dedicated to black American life. In 1968, the Ebony Museum became the DuSable Museum of African-American History, renamed for Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable, a man of African descent who was the first permanent settler in the 1770s in the Chicago region. Today, the DuSable Museum is housed in a building of more than 85,000 square feet and includes a sculpture garden, spacious galleries, a research library and archives, a large auditorium, and a gift shop. More important, the museum houses more than 100,000 art objects and artifacts from African and African American cultures, including original slave documents, Langston Hughes's library, and the photographic collections of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer John Tweedle and South African photographer Leo Leveson. The museum's collection of paintings, drawings, and sculpture by African American artists is often designated as “among the ten most notable collections of such works in the country.”1

Burroughs's activities as a public leader were evident long before the establishment of the DuSable Museum. As a high school student, she joined, with her friend Gwendylon Brooks (future Poet Laureate of Illinois), a Youth Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1939, she and her first husband, the artist Bernard Goss, were among the founders of the Chicago South Side Community Art Center. The Center was ahead of its time as an institution that provided both gallery space for artists and teaching studios for art students, providing a model much emulated over the years. Burroughs also inaugurated the Lake Meadows Art Fair in 1959 as a remedy to the general omission of artists of color by the other large art expositions in the Chicago area. Because of her long-standing high profile as a force in the arts community, Burroughs has served as a very effective member on the boards of many corporations and philanthropic foundations. In 1984, she formed the Burroughs Group for the purpose of providing consulting and other services to the arts community. Most recently, she launched a campaign with other Chicago artists, educators, and community activists and assembled an archive and planned a series of nationwide events that marked the centennial of Paul Robeson on April 9, 1998. An ageless 82, Burroughs currently serves as Chicago's Park District Commissioner. Burroughs's great talents as an art educator are equal to her civic expertise; indeed, they often mesh, as attested to by the full schedule of tours, film and poetry festivals, seminars, symposia, and school outreach programs at the DuSable Museum. An art and art history teacher at the elementary, secondary, and college levels for more than 30 years, she knew all too well from firsthand experience that black history was excluded from textbooks. This realization has informed a lifetime of fervent activism in behalf of constructing historical identity and pride in the American black community. Because of such efforts, Burroughs is often cited as a foremother of the Afro-centric movement that emerged on various fronts in the 1960s as a means to educate and to instill self-respect in people of African descent regarding their social, cultural, historical, and spiritual heritage and development. An important part of her educational activism along Afrocentric lines is her publication of children's books consistent with her educational philosophy and objectives, including Jasper, the Drumming Boy (with illustrations by Burroughs), 1947; Did You Feed My Cow? Rhymes and Games from City Streets and Country Lanes, 1956; and Whip Me Whop Me Pudding and Other Stories of Riley Rabbit and His Fabulous Friends, 1966.

Burroughs's passion for her educational mission especially comes through in her poetry. What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black? (1968) was Burroughs's first volume of poetry; it draws upon her parents' southern roots, their migration experience, and her own better life in the North. Some poems are subjective evocations of Burroughs's family life; many others develop themes of black awareness and pride, such as “Open Letter to Black Youth of Alabama and Other Places,” after an experience as guest lecturer at the Second Negro Writers Conference in 1966. Burroughs is also a compelling performer of her own poetry and continues to give readings at venues all over the world, often accompanying them with slide shows of her artwork.

The themes of Burroughs's art accord with the themes of her life: They speak to, for, and of African Americans. Leslie King-Hammond has described her as working “in the grand tradition of history painting, yet with an unconventionally democratic point of view, focusing on social themes and humanistic concerns. She records landmarks of African-American heritage, history, and culture in order to democratize art and make it available and accessible to everyone.”2 In works such as Birthday Party (1955) and Blowing Bubbles (1968) one recognizes children at play, but there is also a certain monumental solemnity about the paintings in the figures' fairly strict frontal or profile displays as well as their rather earnest expressions. In both works, the high-key colors are joyous, although one does not receive an ironic impression from them as one often does in Jacob Lawrence's combination of bright colors and Harlem scenes. Rather, one gets the feeling that we are witnessing serious play, the kind that teaches, binds, and socializes, the kind that Burroughs's educational philosophies no doubt foster. It is the significance of the playful that elevates these works from narrative genre to history painting: They represent hybrid subjects, crosses between, for example, Raphael's School of Athens and Brueghel's Children's Games. Burroughs's intention to create pictorial social history of African Americans reveals the considerable impact of the Mexican muralists, whom she much admired, on her work. Indeed, during a sabbatical from teaching in 1951–1952, Burroughs worked under Leopold Mendez, a protégé of Rivera, at the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, developing a significant body of linocut and woodblock prints that furthered her goals of visual social commentary and activism.

In July 1997, 30 African American poets, musicians, singers, actors, dancers, and chanters paid tribute to Margaret Burroughs's body of work, especially her poetry, in an event at the DuSable Museum advertised as “A Gathering of Utterers.” Indeed, “utterer” may be the best word to describe this multifaceted and multitalented woman, who would seem to be a living incarnation of Elizabeth Catlett's heads of strong, vital women who sing and shout. Through her civic and humanitarian activities, artwork, poetry, books, essays, and lectures, Margaret Burroughs utters for the people of African descent.

Notes

1. From History and Mission, DuSable Museum of African American History; available from http://www.dusable.org/info/index.html
2. Leslie King-Hammond, ed., Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists (New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995), p. 31.

Catlett, Elizabeth

Born: 1919, Washington, D.C. Education: B.S., cum laude, Howard University, 1936. M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1940. Family: She is married to a Mexican artist, Francisco Mora. They have three sons, a film maker in Mexico, an artist in Germany, and a musician in the United States. She also has several grandchildren. Career. Sculptor, painter, printmaker, educator. Awards: First Prize, American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 1940. First Prize in sculpture. Golden Jubilee National Exposition, Chicago, 1941. Julius Rosenwald Foundation Fellowship, 1945, 1946. Second Prize in sculpture, Atlanta University Annual, 1946 and 1956. Tlatilco Prize, First Sculpture Biannual, Mexico, 1962. Xipe Totec Prize, Second Sculpture Biannual, Mexico, 1964. First Prize in sculpture, Atlanta University Annual, 1965. First Purchase Prize, National Print Salon, Mexico, 1969. Intergrafic Exhibition Prize, Berlin, 1970. Women's Caucus for Art Award, National Congress, San Francisco, 1981. Brandywine Workshop Award, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1982. Purchase Prize, Salon de la Plástica Mexicana. Drawing Salon, Mexico, 1985.

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

1998 Elizabeth Catlett, Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York
1993 Elizabeth Catlett, Works on Paper, 1944–1992, Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia
1973 Elizabeth Catlett, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee; An Exhibition of Sculpture and Prints by Elizabeth Catlett, Jackson State College, Jackson, Mississippi
1972 Elizabeth Catlett, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York
1962 Elizabeth Catlett: Sculpture and Prints, University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
1948 Elizabeth Catlett: 1948—The Negro Woman, Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Selected Group Exhibitions

1998 African American Works on Paper from the Cochran Collection, Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, Alabama
1997 Alone in a Crowd: Prints by African-American Artists of the 1930s–1940s from the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams, The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; National Black Fine Art Show, Puck Building, New York, New York
1996 African-Americans in the Visual Arts: A Historical Perspective, B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, Long Island University, C. W. Post Campus, New York; Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Artists, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia; In the Spirit of Resistance: African-American Modernists and the Mexican Muralist School, American Federation of the Arts and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York; Three Generations of African-American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox, The Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1995 The Listening Sky, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York
1992 Free within Ourselves: African-American Artists in the Collection of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (traveling exhibition)
1988 Through a Master Printer: Robert Blackburn and the Printmaking Workshop, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina; African-American Artists 1880–1987: Selections from the Evans-Tibbs Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1985 Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art, 1800–1950, Bellevue Museum of Art, Bellevue, Washington
1940 American Negro Exposition, Chicago, Illinois

Selected Collections

Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana; California African-American Museum, Los Angeles, California; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; Evans-Tibbs Collection, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut

Selected Publications

Bearden, Romare, and Harry Henderson. A History of African-American Artists from 1972 to the Present. New York: Pantheon Books, 1992.

Bontemps, Arna Alexander, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1862–1980. Normal, Ill.: Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University, 1980.

Boyle, Donald, ed. Black Arts Annual 1987/1988. New York: Garland Publishing, 1989.

Dover, Cedric. American Negro Art. Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1960.

Farris, Phoebe. “A Visit with Elizabeth Catlett.” Art Education 47, no. 3 (1994), pp. 68–72.

Fax, Elton C Seventeen Black Artists. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1971.

Herzog, Melanie. “Elizabeth Catlett in Mexico.” International Review of African American Art 11, no. 3 (1994), pp. 229–232.

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1993.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Lewis, Samella. African-American Art and Artists. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990.

Lewis, Samella. The Art of Elizabeth Catlett. Los Angeles: Alan S. Lewis Associates, 1991.

Negro Heritage Committee. Afro-American Women in Art: Their Achievements in Sculpture and Painting. Greensboro, N.C: Negro Heritage Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 1969.

Powell, Richard J. Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Tesfagiorgis, Freida High W. “Afrofemcentrism and Its Fruition in the Art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith Ringgold.” In Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, eds.. The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History. New York: Icon Editions, 1992. pp. 475–485.

Artist Statement (1973) 1

No other field is as closed to those who are not white and male as is the visual arts. After I decided to be an artist, the first thing I had to believe was that I, a black woman, could penetrate the art scene, and that, further, I could do so without sacrificing one iota of my blackness or my femaleness or my humanity.

Note

1. Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis, “Afrofemcentrism and Its Fruition in the Art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith Ringgold,” in Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, eds., The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History (New York: Icon Editions, 1992), p. 478.

Biographical Essay

The “bare bones” version of Catlett's formative years resembles Selma Burke's. Both artists received encouragement in their artistic aspirations from enlightened mothers; both studied sculpture; both received Rosenwald Fellowships that allowed them to travel; both were imprinted by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) era; both created figurative sculpture that combines modernist, social realist, and African strains; both dedicated their lives to art education. Yet Catlett acquired an explicit political consciousness that resolutely informs her aesthetics, whereas Burke just as resolutely maintained the “unpolitical” persona typical of a universalistic modernism. For example, Burke discouraged the designation “African-American artist”; Catlett, on the other hand, once introduced herself at a symposium in the following manner: “I'm Elizabeth Catlett and what's important to me is first that I am black, and secondly that I'm a woman and thirdly that I'm a sculptor.”1 In other words, Catlett is “Afrofemcentric” (a term coined by Freida High Tesfagioris in 1984) and thus shares a sensibility with artists such as Camille Billops and Faith Ringgold, whose works also privilege black female subjectivity.

Catlett's sculpture and prints have featured the emotional and intellectual lives of black women since at least her prize-winning M.F.A. thesis sculpture. Mother and Child (a First at the 1941 American Negro Exposition in Chicago). Yet critics and scholars commonly have downplayed the obvious Afrofemcentricity of her work in favor of its more universal social and political consciousness. Catlett's politicized life as an expatriate artist living in Mexico since 1947, inspired by the Mexican muralists and shaped by her long-standing membership in the populist print workshop Taller de Gráfica Popular, apparently has been irresistible as a rationale for focusing upon her art's social activism in behalf of the colonial downtrodden at the expense of its Afrofemcentric dimensions. It is much easier to cite her affiliations with David Alfaro Siquieros and Diego Rivera than to account for the impact of the conservative Regionalist Grant Wood, Catlett's instructor at the University of Iowa, whose advice to “make what you know best” encouraged Catlett's predominant subject matter of strong women of color.2 Such one-sided treatment recalls a similar scholarly myopia regarding the work of Kathe Kollwitz, whose expressionist woodcuts that thematize feminine identity among the suffering masses of Germany are the ancestors of Cat-lett's own dramatic linocuts of powerful, intrepid black women, particularly The Negro Women series (1946–1947, Collection of Samella Lewis), which was her project for the Rosenwald Fellowship. At times, Catlett's own words have served those conventional presentations of her works' political agenda, as in the oft-quoted passage about the practices of the Taller:

We work collectively. I still ask people's opinion while I am working: what they think of what I am doing. And if it is clear to them. We work collectively, though we criticize each other's work from a positive point of view, trying to help, trying to see what would better the work.

We also work together. I remember a poster that Leopold [Mendez] and Pablo [O'Higgins] drew. They gave me the drawing and I developed the design for a silkscreen, but being very pregnant I couldn't do the screening myself, so someone else did that. The thinking of many people on one subject, or a piece of art or creating, can also work very well.3

In her self-portrayal as working and pregnant, simultaneously creative and pro-creative, there is a certain implicit Afrofemcentricism in this quote, which otherwise foregrounds a collectivist idealism. Later statements, however, more definitively inscribe an Afrofemcentricity:

I am interested in women's liberation for the fulfillment of women; not just for jobs and equality with men and so on, but for what they can contribute to enrich the world, humanity. Their contributions have been denied them. It's the same thing that happens to black people … I think that the male is aggressive and he has a male supremacist idea in his head, at least in the United States and Mexico. We need to know more about women.4

Given such pronouncements, therefore, one must recognize not only privation in the gaunt face of the female fieldworker in Catlett's color linocut The Sharecropper(1970, Hampton University Museum) but also a wealth of character strength. The Sharecropper, as are all the rest of Catlett's images of women of color, is a “woman warrior,” challenging “the stereotypical, non-heroic treatment of black women, which characterized Western art for decades, by portraying them as strong, beautiful, creative, and intelligent.”5 Feminist interpretations of Catlett's work have prevailed in the scholarship of recent years as a new generation of art historians and critics examine Catlett's work from new critical perspectives.6 Feminist revisionism by no means overrides the social consciousness that so obviously informs Catlett's work; indeed, it makes it more resonant. Her works marked by the civil rights movement, for example, seem to give voice to an all the more inclusive group precisely because of Afrofemcentric critique. The “us” referred to in the linocut Malcolm X Speaks for Us (1969, Museum of Modern Art) is truly all African Americans; the bronze head set behind a wire configuration resembhng the sites of a rifle (Target, 1970, Tulane University) represents all African Americans as potential targets of violence.

Elizabeth Catlett's biography would politicize even the most inherently unpolitical. In 1919, the year of Catlett's birth, a group of drunken servicemen incited a violent three-day clash by instigating attacks upon black citizens of Washington, D.C., based upon their fierce objections to black men in uniform. By the end of the second day, over 300 black victims had been wounded, but the third day saw a victorious counterinsurgency by the black people of Washington, rising up against their attackers, refusing to be massacred. Catlett grew up listening to the story of the Washington “riot,” absorbing the lessons it held for growing up black in a white America.7 As an aspiring art student, Catlett was denied admission to the Carnegie Institute of Technology, despite glowing acclamations from its faculty, because of her race. As an art teacher in the public school system of Durham, North Carolina, she experienced salary discrimination at the hands of the white power structure and a cynical black elite class.8

After her experience in Durham, Catlett decided to pursue graduate work at the University of Iowa, where she concentrated in sculpture and was the first person to earn an M.F.A. degree from that institution even though the head of the art department attempted to prevent such a first. After leaving Iowa, Catlett continued in art education, landing a position as head of the art department at Dillard University in New Orleans, based upon her excellent academic record and the First Prize won by her M.F.A. thesis sculpture in Chicago. While in New Orleans, Catlett successfully “integrated” the New Orleans Museum of Art in order to take a group of black art students to a Picasso retrospective there. The museum itself was not closed to blacks, but the park that surrounded it was. Catlett arranged to have a bus carrying the students drop them off right at the entrance to the museum so that they would not have to set foot in the park, staging what Elton Fax has called a “cultural coup of sorts in the Crescent City.”9 Despite this small victory, Catlett found her experience at Dillard discouraging, due to an apathetic university administration.

Practicing higher art education in the 1940s South proved too frustrating for Catlett, and she and her husband, the WPA painter and printmaker Charles White, moved to New York City in 1942. There, Catlett reveled in a typical urban life filled with the visual and performing arts while continuing her teaching career with more gratifying results at the progressive George Washington Carver School in Harlem, an alternative community center dedicated to improving the educational level of working-class people. Catlett's experience at the Carver School undoubtedly primed her for the extraordinarily enriching experience of working at the Taller Grafica Popular, where she not only worked collectively but also was able to speak to a broad population through her work. Catlett remained in Mexico at the end of the Rosenwald Fellowship, which enabled her to travel there, marrying a fellow cultural worker at the Taller, Francisco Mora, after her divorce from White in 1947. She became a Mexican citizen after experiencing archetypal “red-baiting” at the hands of the U.S. government and its agencies. In 1959, Catlett became the head of the sculpture department in the National School of Fine Arts at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, remaining there until she retired in 1976. She continues to call suburban Mexico City home.

Formally, Catlett's work reveals a high modernism, particularly her sculpture, with its sensuously handled materials, its rounded forms, and its generalized figurative abstraction. One easily recognizes in her sculpture the impact of her year of private study in New York with Russian emigre sculptor Ossip Zadkine in 1943. Catlett and Zadkine share an appetite for extracting sheer beauty from their materials; their most typical works divulge an incipient Cubism, an angular potentiality lying just beneath their smooth, curvaceous surfaces, lending them an expressive “edginess,” in both form and content. One can also identify Henry Moore's reductive, open-formed figurative sculpture as an obvious source for Catlett's similar figuration, although one very significant difference must be noted: Where Moore's figures are passive and recumbent, Catlett's are energetic and upright, fists often defiantly raised (e.g.. Homage to My Young Black Sisters, 1968, Private Collection), both active and activist, defying their modernism with political conviction.

Notes

1. Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis, “Afrofemcentrism and Its Fruition in the Art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith Ringgold,” in Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, eds., The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History (New York: Icon Editions, 1992), p. 475.
2. Lizetta LeFalle-Collins, “Working from the Pacific Rim: Beulah Woodward and Elizabeth Catlett,” in Carolyn Shuttles worth, ed., Three Generations of African-American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox (Philadelphia, Pa.: The Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, 1996), p. 39.
3. Romare Bearden and Harry Henderson, A History of African-American Artists from 1972 to the Present (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992), p. 423.
4. Samella Lewis, The Art of Elizabeth Catlett (Los Angeles: Alan S. Lewis Associates, 1991), p. 102.
5. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, “Warrior Women: Art as Resistance,” in Jontyle Theresa Robinson, ed., Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Artists (Atlanta Ga.: Spelman College, 1996), p. 39.
6. See, for example, essays by Guy-Sheftall, ibid.; and LeFalle-Collins in Carolyn Shuttlesworth, ed., Three Generations of African-American Women Sculptors.
7. Elton C. Fax, Seventeen Black Artists (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1971), p. 15.
8. Ibid., p. 19.
9. Ibid., p. 22.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara

Born: 1939; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Education: B.F.A., Tyler School of Art, Temple University, 1957. M.F.A., Yale University, 1960. Career: Sculptor, author, lecturer. Awards: John Hay Whitney Fellowship, 1957. National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1973. First Prize, New York City Subway Competition for Architecture, 1973. United States State Department Traveling Grant, 1975. Named the Academic of Italy with a gold metal for sculpture and drawing, 1978. Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best novel (Sally Hemmings) written by an American woman, 1980. Honorary Doctorate of Arts and Humanities, Temple University, 1981. Carl Sandberg Prize, 1988. Knighthood in Arts and Letters, French Government, 1996.

Selected Exhibitions

1998 Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Stella Jones Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana
1990 Pasadena College Museum, Pasadena, California
1981 Bronx Museum, New York City, New York
1980 Musée Reatu, Artes, France
1979 Kunstmuseum, Baden-Baden, Germany
1974 Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France; Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany
1973 Berkeley University Museum, Berkeley, California; Detroit Art Institute, Detroit, Michigan; Richard Fonck Gallery, Ghent, Belgium; Indianapolis Art Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana; Kunstmuseum, Dus-seldorf, Germany; The Merian Gallery, Krefeld, Germany
1970 Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York, New York; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts
1966 Cadran Solaire, Paris, France

Selected Group Exhibitions

1996 Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Artists, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Explorations in the City of Light: African-Americans in Paris, 1945–1965, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, New York; Three Generations of African-American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox, The Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1995 The Listening Sky, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York
1992 Paris Connections: African-American Artists in Paris, Bomani Gallery, San Francisco, California
1978 Barbara Chase-Riboud and Mel Edwards, Bronx Museum, New York City, New York
1971 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, New York

Selected Collections

Beaubourg Museum, Paris, France; Geigy Foundation, New York City, New York; Kenton Corporation, New York City, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York City, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France; Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; University Museum, Berkeley, California

Selected Publications

Baraka, Imamu Amiri. “Counter Statement to the Whitney Ritz Bros.” In Tom Lloyd, ed., Black Art Notes. Privately pubhshed, 1971.

Bearden, Romare, and Harry Henderson. The History of America's Black Artists. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

Bontemps, Arna Alexander, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1862–1980. Normal, Ill.: Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University, 1980.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara. Echo of Lions. New York: William Morrow, 1989.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara. From Memphis to Peking. New York: Random House, 1974.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara. Portrait of a Nude Women as Cleopatra. New York: William Morrow, 1987.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara. The President's Daughter. New York: Crown, 1994.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara. Sally Hemmings. New York: Viking Press, 1979.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara. Valide: A Novel of the Harem. New York: William Morrow, 1986.

Dover, Cedric. American Negro Art. Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1960.

Fine, Elsa Honig. The Afro-American Artist. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.

Fraser, C. Gerald. “African-American Artists in Paris 1945–1965: Studio Museum in Harlem.” New York Amsterdam News, January 27, 1996, p. 21.

Jones, Virginia W. Contemporary American Women Sculptors. Boston: Oryx Press, 1986.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Lewis, Samella. African-American Art and Artists. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990.

Munro, Eleanor. Originals: American Women Artists. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

Negro Heritage Committee. Afro-American Women in Art: Their Achievements in Sculpture and Painting. Greensboro, N.C.: Negro Heritage Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 1969.

Newton, Edmond. “Now Showing: The Artist at Work.” Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1990, p. J9.

Nora, Françoise. “From Another Country.” Art News 69 (March 1970), p. 62.

Perry, Regina. A History of Afro-American Art. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.

Powell, Richard J. Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Rubinstein, Charlotte Striefer. American Women Sculptors. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1990.

Artist Statement (1994) 1

My mother was famous in Albermarle County, and had been ever since I was born. People as far away as Richmond knew her as my father's concubine, mistress of his wardrobe, mother of his children. I was one of those children and my father, a celebrated and powerful man, had hidden us away here for twenty years because of a scandal they called “the troubles with Callendar.”

I was never told any more about it then, except that it made my mother the most famous bondswoman in America and put me in double jeopardy. For despite my green eyes and red hair and white skin, I was black.

Note

1. From Barbara Chase-Riboud, The President's Daughter (New York: Crown, 1994), p. 21.

Biographical Essay

Just as her fictional character, Thomas Jefferson's illegitimate daughter Harriet Henmiings, whose words are quoted above, Barbara Chase-Riboud has existed astride black and white worlds for most of her life. As an African American from Philadelphia who has lived in Paris since the early 1960s, Chase-Riboud knows firsthand how fraught with contradictions coexistence, however congenial, can be. Indeed, her sculptural practices reflect this experience: She works in cast bronze, a material conventionally “masculinized,” which she combines with unlikely materials of traditionally feminine affiliation: silk, wool, and a variety of other braided and knotted fibers. She conceives of her combinatory sculptures as symbols of unity, bringing together male and female, western and nonwestem, art and craft, “the burnished and the mat, the hard and the soft, the forceful and the tender, what resists and what submits.”1

Chase-Riboud's ecumenical vision has been nurtured by extensive world travel since her first trip to Rome on a John Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship in 1958. It was while on her Roman sojourn that she also began her comparative examination of world cultures. After a side trip to Egypt, she returned to Rome in awe of the monumentality of Egyptian architecture, characterizing Greek and Roman art as “pastry”2 in comparison, an evocative association of buildings and food that not only presaged the dualist aesthetic that would dominate her artwork but also the lyrical imagism that would dominate her poetry. In 1961, Chase-Riboud married her first husband, French photographer and journalist Marc Riboud, and during the next five years traveled with him all over the world. Their visit to China in 1965 made her one of the first American women to visit that country since the 1940s.

Chase-Riboud did not engage in much art making during her travels with Riboud. When she did return to work in the late 1960s, it was quite evident that her newly acquired worldliness had inculcated her Yale-derived modernism with a marked multicultural awareness. Her sculpture of the late 1950s (see, for example, Adam and Eve, 1958) draws upon the resurgent figuration bordering on abstraction that prevailed over European visual expression in the immediate postwar period, particularly that of Germaine Richier and Alberto Giacometti. Her sculpture from the late 1960s and beyond, on the other hand, is much less figurative but now takes on a powerful totemistic quality, primarily due to the strange variety of its materials. Chase-Riboud herself called attention in a 1970 interview to the “African connotations” of her work's aggregations of metal and fibers, “especially if one considers how the African dancing mask (wood) is always combined with other materials: raffia, hemp, leather, feathers, cord, metal chains or bells. Each element has an aesthetic as well as a symbolic and spiritual function. My idea is to reinterpret the aesthetic function in contemporary terms, using modern materials (bronze and silk, bronze and wool, steel and synthetics, aluminum and synthetics).”3

Chase-Riboud's first solo exhibition, at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in New York in 1970, showcased her new “Africanizing” work. The accompanying catalog was full of references to the contemporary politics of Afrocentrism, with quotations from Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice (1968), among others. Despite the obvious African ancestralism of the sculpture presented, it also very much partook of a European polish, a kind of “belle sculpture.” Four works in the show dedicated to Malcolm X (Monuments to Malcolm X, Nos. 1–4), for example, were elegant relief constructions of hammered yet gleaming ribbons of bronze from which hung cords of knotted silk or braided wool. Their lack of any overt symbolism that could be related directly to Malcolm X's life or ideology was problematic and even offensive to some in her audience, who felt that the works in the exhibition should have lived up to the radical tone of the catalog and addressed directly the contemporary African American struggle.

The overall abstraction and internationalism of Chase-Riboud's work opened it up for a critique that was heard often during this high-octane era of polemicism on behalf of Black Power (and is still a common enough refrain today), perhaps best stated by poet Amiri Baraka's commentary on a Whitney Museum Biennial that included some African American artists (among them Chase-Riboud) but only those whose work was oriented toward a Eurocentricism. These artists, he felt, do not “actually exist in the black world at all. They are within the tradition of white art, blackface or not. And to try to force them on black people, as examples of what we are at our best, is nonsensical and ugly.”4 Considering Chase-Riboud's life outside of the American racist miasma of the 1960s, this criticism is unfair, especially when one appreciates the obvious construction of African identity in her work. It is also undeniable that her work exists squarely in the tradition of “unpolitical” postwar lyrical abstraction, a tradition she reveres and that she refuses to submit to a sociopolitical revisionism, as one gathers from her paean to Mark Rothko:

Have it…
For if anyone has earned it,
You have…5

Additionally, Chase-Riboud's work matured in the aesthetic context of post-minimalism, when there was an emphasis on using nontraditional materials and allowing them to behave according to their unique properties, whether those may be hanging, draping, leaning, or splattering. It is much more enlightening to view Chase-Riboud's work in the context of Eva Hesse's, rather than Elizabeth Catlett's, oeuvre.

If one must, perhaps it would be appropriate to label Chase-Riboud, in the words of Cornel West—who originally coined the term to refer to James Baldwin, yet another habitué of the relatively nonracist Parisian arts milieu—as “a race-transcending prophet,” someone who “never forgets about the significance of race but refuses to be confined to race.”6 Although there is no need to justify a diversity of cultural production, some of it political, some of it not, Chase-Riboud is presently working on a proposal for a monument to the African diaspora that should satisfy a public's desire for direct sociological relevance. This proposed 52-foot-high bronze structure is to be erected over the site of an African cemetery in Manhattan and is entitled Harrar or Monument to the 11 Million Victims of the Middle Passage after the east African city of her ancestors, which has a personal resonance for her, well expressed in her poem of the same name. One line reads: “Out of the womb of the world we came.”7 The public sculpture, like her poem, commemorates the 11 million lives lost in the Middle Passage. A chain of 11 million links will connect two bronze obelisks, forming an “H,” to signify the ancient African capital. The bronze surfaces will be inscribed with the names of every African place that suffered at the hands of the slave traders. It is hoped that Harrar or Monument to the 11 Million Victims of the Middle Passage will be completed by the year 2000.

The medium in which Barbara Chase-Riboud most directly addresses the racial problems produced by colonialism is historical fiction. Since the late 1970s, Chase-Riboud has written four novels, Sally Hemmings and The President's Daughter, about Thomas Jefferson's alleged patrimony of a daughter, Harriet, by his mistress Sally; Echo of Lions, about the events surrounding the revolt on the slave ship Amistad; and Valide: A Novel of the Harem, about the conditions of slavery during the Ottoman Empire. Sally Hemmings won the Kafka Prize for best novel written by an American woman in 1979. In the multiplicity of art forms that she practices, Chase-Riboud is like Margaret Burroughs. They are, however, two very different souls, and a brief comparison of their attitudes bears witness to the greater opportunities afforded the generation of African American women artists who came after Burroughs's trailblazing generation. In 1997, Burroughs delivered the L. M. Clark Lecture at North Carolina State University in which she said, “It strengthens one to constantly be around people who look just like you.”8 Contrast this statement with Chase-Riboud's from 1996, on the occasion of the opening of the African-American Artists in Paris 1945–1965 exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem: “[T]o travel anywhere outside your own culture, outside your country, is essential to evolve as an artist. To discover your own culture from the outside is essential.”9Vive la difference.

Notes

1. Françoise Nora, “From Another Country,” Art News 69 (March 1970), p. 62.
2. Edmond Newton, “Now Showing: The Artist at Work,” Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1990, p. J9.
3. Nora, “From Another Country,” p. 62.
4. Imamu Amiri Baraka, “Counter Statement to the Whitney Ritz Bros.,” in Tom Lloyd, ed., Black Art Notes (privately published, 1971), p. 10.
5. Barbara Chase-Riboud, “For Marc Rothko,” in Mara R. Witzling, ed., Voicing Today's Visions: Writings by Contemporary Women Artists (New York: Universe, 1994), pp. 180–181.
6. bell hooks and Cornel West, Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life (Boston: South End Press, 1991), p. 49.
7. “Harrar,” in Mara R. Witzling, ed., Voicing Today's Visions: Writings by Contemporary Women Artists (New York: Universe, 1994), pp. 183–185.
8. Cassandra Lester, “Dr. Margaret Burroughs Speaks on Behalf of the L. M. Clark Lecture,” Nubia (Spring 1997), pp. 1–2.
9. C. Gerald Fraser, “African-American Artists in Paris 1945–1965: Studio Museum in Harlem,” New York Amsterdam News, January 27, 1996, p. 21.

Cochran, Marie T.

Born: 1962, Toccoa, Georgia. Education: B.F.A., University of Georgia, 1985. M.F.A., School of the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, 1992. Career: Site-specific sculptor, installation artist, educator, art writer. Awards: National Endowment of the Arts Summer Internship, 1992. Georgia Council for the Arts, Individual Artist's Grant, 1994–1995. Cultural Olympiad Regional Designation Award, 1995. National Endowment for the Arts/Southern Federation Fellowship, Sculpture, 1995–1996. Achievement by Georgia Women in the Visual Arts Award, 1997.

Image
Click to see larger image

Bluesong for My Brothers by Marie T. Cochran, installation piece. Photographer Becket Logan. Courtesy of Marie T. Cochran

Selected Exhibitions

1996 Talking with Benny, site-specific installation, Chattahooche Valley Art Museum, LaGrange, Georgia
1995 Blood Sweat and the Basic Rules of Survival (for Emanuel), site-specific installation, Emanuel Arts Center, Swainsboro, Georgia; notes of an educated woman. Nexus Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia
1993 Vessels and Shadows, Emanuel Arts Center, Swainsboro, Georgia
1987 The Field, site-specific installation, Seven Stages Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
1986 A Will… A Way, Tate Center Gallery, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia; Sapelo Sketchbook, Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, Georgia

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 Joy of the Journey: Women Artists in Georgia, Spelman College, Camille Hanks Cosby Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; Big, Georgia Mu seum of Art, Athens, Georgia; Joy of the Journey: Women Artists, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia; SAGE, site- specific installation, Big, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia
1995–1996 Freedom School, site-specific installation, Equal Rights and Justice on tour from the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, Center for African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1995 NEA/Southern Arts Federation Grant Fellows Exhibition, South Florida Arts Center, Miami Beach, Florida
1994 Hale Woodruff Memorial Exhibition: Curator's Choice, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York; Equal Rights and Justice, Reflections on Rights, The Center for African American History & Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1992 The Next Generation: Impact of Race, Class and Sexuality on Family Life, Gallery 2, Chicago, Illinois
1990 NOURISHMENT, site-specific installation. Rethinking the Sacred Image, exhibition/symposium. New Visions Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
1989 VOICES, site-specific installation. Nexus Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia
1987 All Work & No Play, Nexus Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; SING/SONG, site-specific installation, Atlanta Biennial, Nexus Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia
1985 International Dogwood Arts Festival, Georgia Technical Institute Art Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; 5th Annual Afro-American National Juried Show, Atlanta Life Insurance Company, Atlanta, Georgia

Selected Publications

Cochran, Marie. “Carrie Mae Weems: At the Table.” Georgia Review 48, no. 4 (Summer 1995), pp. 711–712.

Cochran, Marie. “Letter from Home.” The Womanist 1, no. 2 (1995), pp. 10–13.

Cochran, Marie. “Love on Film Across Color Lines.” High Performance: A Quarterly Magazine for the New Arts 62 (Summer 1993), pp. 12–13.

Cochran, Marie. “The Year of Which Woman?” High Performance: A Quarterly Magazine for the New Arts (Fall 1992), p. 21.

Cotter, Holland. “Objects in Accord with Ideas behind Them.” New York Times, December 9, 1994, p. B8.

Fox, Catherine. “Exhibit's Innovative Works Reflect the Civil Rights Years.” Atlanta Journal/Constitution, May 24, 1994.

Fox, Catherine. “Past and Present to Be Embedded in Mechanicsville Public Art Project.” The Atlanta Journal/The Atlanta Constitution (City Life Atlanta edition), April 11, 1996.

Hale Woodruff Memorial Exhibition: Curator's Choice. Artist's profile by Consultant Curator Helen Shannon and Associate Curator of Exhibition Jorge Daniel Ve-neciano. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1994. Exhbn cat.

Howell, Esther. “Artist Reclaims Pieces of Her Past.” Black Issues in Higher Education 11, no. 12 (August 11, 1994).

Hudson, Tom. “Athens' Olympic Artists.” Athens Magazine 8, no. 3 (August 1996), pp. 48–49.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Montgomery, Anne. “GSU Art Teacher Finds Work Reaching Wider Audience.” States-boro Herald, February 8, 1994.

Przybilla, Carrie. Equal Rights and Justice. Atlanta, Ga.: High Museum of Art, 1987.

Wasserman, Nadine. “Artists' Profiles, NEA/Southern Arts Federation Fellowship, Sculpture.” Sculpture Magazine (December 1995).

Artist Statement (1994) 1

My philosophy is that art is a tool. I think artworks borrow a small fraction of what exists in the physical world and then shape it into a new reality, and new challenges which could not be found in other forms of communication. With the philosophy that art is a tool, I strive to make my work a willing conduit for interdisciplinary investigation. An integral part of my process is the belief that each image or simple pairing of images is created with the realization that it will transform. The images become part of a repertoire of symbols. Most of my work is closely linked with themes dealing with African-American history.

My artistic evolution began with an interest in college—the whole idea of drawing an image and tearing it apart, finding other materials to incorporate, reassembling them into a different form. I feel that this is analogous to African-American culture, especially when we consider the period of the American Reconstruction or contemporary trends toward revisionist history. The format I use is site-specific installation—making use of the walls, corners, ceiling, and floors. Many of the materials which I incorporate into the works are found objects: objects with a history, with an integrity of their own … to active space, to raise questions.

Finally by choosing my own personal subject matter, I want to present codes and gestures that become a part of a greater dialogue about human experience. I want to react to culture and identification, recognize memory, acknowledge ancestry. These are the things I attempt to capture in my work as an artist.

Note

1. From Hale Woodruff Memorial Exhibition: Curator's Choice, artist's profile by Consultant Curator Helen Shannon and Associate Curator Jorge Daniel Veneciano (New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1994), p. 11.

Biographical Essay

Marie Cochran received her B.F.A. from the University of Georgia, Athens, in 1985 with an emphasis in drawing and painting. After active participation in the Atlanta/Arts community, in 1987 she took a position as a visiting artist at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia. Cochran later continued her studies with a Ford Foundation scholarship to the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. After earning an M.F.A. in 1992 in Fiber and Drawing/Painting, Cochran was awarded an NEA summer fellowship in museum education.

Cochran's work has been exhibited at the High Museum of Atlanta, the South Florida Arts Center in Miami Beach, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She has also been awarded numerous public art commissions, awards, and honors such as the 1994 Individual Artist's Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts and a 1995 Southern Arts Federation/NEA Sculpture Fellowship. Currently Marie Cochran is a faculty member of the University of Georgia's Lamar Dodd School of Art in Athens, Georgia.

As an artist, writer, professor, and video/theater set designer, Marie Cochran engages in visual/verbal dialogues centering on issues of race and gender from an African American cultural/historical/political perspective. Functioning as an interdisciplinary artist, Cochran utilizes found objects, constructed objects, and personal artifacts in her installations, performance pieces, and public art commissions. Cochran also highlights the achievements of other black women artists in critiques focusing on artists such as Carrie Mae Weems and Lorna Simpson.

A native Georgian, Cochran's southern roots and themes from the 1950s-1960s civil rights movement feature prominently in her work, which is politically charged, often incorporating community participation or consultation. Freedom School, Cochran's installation in the touring “Equal Rights and Justice” exhibit, commemorated the 1960s Mississippi civil rights freedom schools for black children. To give voice to those 1960s children who risked their lives by attending freedom schools, Cochran enlisted local Atlanta elementary school students to draw along the top of the walls in the installation after participating in discussions on race and African American culture. The installation also included a desk, globe, tattered books to represent the used textbooks black children were given in segregated school systems, and stenciled racist/stereotypical words and imagery from 1950s textbooks.

Praisesong: For My Brothers, an NEA/Southern Arts Federation exhibit, is an homage to African American men in general and to specific black men in Cochran's life. It is her response to the negative media portrayals of black men as rapists, drug dealers, and murderers. Using personal effects of her father, brothers, uncles, and other significant men, the installation honors the male dynamic in African American culture and accentuates the positive male/female relationships that do exist, despite the excessive public discourse on the allegedly “dysfunctional” black family.

In notes of an educated woman, a 1995 solo exhibit at Atlanta's Nexus Contemporary Arts Center, Cochran reflected on the intellectual and emotional experiences of the African American women in her family, her hometown, and in her own life. Consisting of computer illustrations, audiotapes, and texts from the writings of black intellectuals such as bell hooks and playwright Lorraine Hansbury, all arranged in a circular room, notes of an educated woman informed viewers about the type of black women who are often ignored in the media's and the government's sweeping generalizations about “welfare queens” and “crack-addict mothers.”

The author was introduced to Marie Cochran and her work through the University of Georgia's Womanist Studies Consortium (WSC), an interracial, intergenerational, regional affiliation of scholars that supports and facilitates research on women of color in all disciplines. As a charter member of WSC, Marie uses her art to facilitate WSC goals of coalition building to overcome problems of racial, sexual, class, and power-based conflict.

Fuller, Meta Vaux Warrick

Born: 1877, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Education: B.A., Pennsylvania Museum School for the Industrial Arts, 1897. Postgraduate study, Pennsylvania Museum School for the Industrial Arts, 1897–1899. Postgraduate study. Academic des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1899–1900. Career: Sculptor, social and civil rights activist. Awards: Crozer Prize for Sculpture, Pennsylvania Museum School for the Industrial Arts, 1899. Commission for set of tableaux for the Negro pavilion at the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, 1907. Gold Medal, Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, 1907. Commission for the Emancipation Proclamation's 50th Anniversary, 1913. Commission for medallion, Framingham Equal Suffrage League, 1915. Commission for ten dolls representing notable black women. National Council of Negro Women, Washington, D.C., 1957. Commission for plaque depicting working doctors and nurses, Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, Massachusetts, 1964. Commission for sculpture, Framingham Center Library, 1964. Died: 1968.

Selected Exhibitions

1930–1968 Frequent exhibitions throughout the Boston area, particularly at local libraries and churches and the Boston Art Club
1921 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1908 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1906 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1902 Meta Vaux Warrick, L'Art Nouveau, Paris, France
1901–1902 Series of private exhibitions under sponsorship of Auguste Rodin, Paris, France

Selected Group Exhibitions

1998 Rhapodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California
1996 Three Generations of African-American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox, The Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1988 Trail Blazers in Harlem, E. B. Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California
1986 Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York
1984 Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art, 1800–1950, Bellevue Museum of Art, Bellevue, Washington
1961 New Vistas in American Art, Howard University Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1921 Making of America Festival, New York, New York
1903 Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts Salon, Paris, France

Selected Collections

Frank Hale Black Cultural Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia; James Weldon Johnson Collection, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Museum of Afro-American History, Boston, Massachusetts; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York

Selected Publications

Bomani, Asaki, and Belvie Rooks, eds. Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris. San Francisco: Q.E.D. Press, 1992.

Bontemps, Arna Alexander, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1862–1980. Normal, Ill.: Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University, 1980.

Dannett, Sylvia G. Profiles of Negro Womanhood. Vol. 2. Yonkers, N.Y.: Educational Heritage, 1966.

Fine, Elsa Honig. The Afro-American Artist. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Lewis, Samella. African-American Art and Artists. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990.

Negro Heritage Committee. Afro-American Women in Art: Their Achievements in Sculpture and Painting. Greensboro, N.C.: Negro Heritage Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 1969.

Powell, Richard J. Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Robinson, Jontyle Theresa. Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Women Artists. Atlanta, Ga.: Spelman Museum of Fine Art, 1996.

Smith, Jessie Carney, ed. Notable Black American Women. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992.

Artist Statement (1966) 1

Art must be the quintessence of meaning. Creative art means you create for yourself. Inspirations can come from most anything. Tell the world how you feel... take the chances … try, try!

Note

1. From Sylvia Dannett, Profiles of Negro Womanhood, vol. 2 (Yonkers, N.Y.: Educational Heritage, 1966), p. 46.

Biographical Essay

Meta Warrick Fuller is known for her subjects drawn from African culture. Her most famous work, The Awakening of Ethiopia (ca. 1914–1921), which mixes ancient Egyptian and African referents, could be considered an important antecedent to contemporary works such as Lorraine O'Grady's photographs juxtaposing portraits of her family members with portraits of ancient Egyptian women (for example, Sisters #11: Nefertiti's Daughter Merytaten; Devonians Daughter Candace, 1988). As such, it is appropriate to weigh Ethiopia in the context of art world debates surrounding the representation of ethnic identity, raging since the early 1990s. This bronze sculpture of an African woman depicted according to Egyptian conventions could be hailed today as a positive statement regarding the confluence of Egyptian and African cultural heritages, which has been substantiated somewhat through archaeological and anthropological research. Fuller's sculpture might also be decried as pandering to the uncritical wing of identity politics, which seeks merely to redefine the dominant and the subaltern, oftentimes resorting to nothing more than fanciful mythification, in this case that African culture supplied the mystical origins of ancient Egyptian civilization. It is the mythologizing promotion of the Egyptian/African axis that Fred Wilson gently parodies in his 1993 installation Re-claiming Egypt, showing Africanizing Egyptian kitsch that one might discover as decor in a typical African American household as if installed in a museum exhibition. However one might induct Ethiopia into the pantheon, of African art in the Egyptian tradition, which also includes works by Edmonia Lewis and Barbara Chase-Riboud, it is a tribute to Fuller's indelible classic sense that her work finds itself squarely in the midst of critical currency.

In his recent Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century, Richard J. Powell places Ethiopia in its proper historical context:

The Awakening of Ethiopia … reflects a major step in the history of African American art. The Awakening of Ethiopia breaks away from European artistic traditions and represents one of the first examples of “ethnic” African consciousness. In the eighteenth century, African American artists attempted to make their mark in American art and adopted European aesthetic conventions in their work. Faced with discrimination at home, Fuller, along with many other African American artists, studied in Europe in hopes of becoming internationally known. Many of these artists who escaped racial prejudice did not deal with racial subject matter in their work. The Awakening of Ethiopia is a notable exception among the works produced in the neoclassic period.1

Ethiopia may also have autobiographical significance for Fuller, who was the great-granddaughter of an Ethiopian princess, brought to the United States in slavery.

At any rate. The Awakening of Ethiopia is atypical of the majority of Fuller's sculpture, both in form and content. While this sculpture does reflect her life-long affinity for the figurative tradition, its serene demeanor, neoclassical geometricization, and closed form do not at all reflect her much more romantic and emotionally resonant signature work with roots in the late 19th-century Symbolism. Fuller's early work displayed a highly sensitive and expressive surface and structural realism and was often described as “macabre and gruesome.”2 Her clay model of Man Eating His Heart caught the eye of Auguste Rodin, who proclaimed after examining it minutely that Fuller was a born sculptor with an innate sense of form.3 Throughout the time that Fuller studied and exhibited in Paris, Rodin functioned as her mentor and sponsor, and her work mirrored his romantic realism. Of Fuller's time in Paris, Fuller scholar Judith Kerr states:

Warrick's creations become more daring in theme and execution. One of her aims had always been to explore the psychology of human emotions, a belief in the function of art she shared with Rodin. Under his tutelage, she learned to execute such ideas with greater force. She refused to limit herself to subjects that were merely aesthetically pleasing, never avoiding portrayals because they were ugly or abhorrent.4

Fuller studied art in Paris from 1899 to 1902, thanks to her parents' enlightenment, resources, and connections (W.E.B. Du Bois convinced her parents to let her go; the painter Henry Ossawa Tanner kept an eye on her while she was there). While there, she enjoyed the patronage not only of Rodin and Augustus Saint-Gaudens but also of Samuel Bing, art dealer, promoter of Symbolism in Paris, and director of the gallery L'Art Nouveau. Bing presented 22 of Fuller's sculptures at his gallery in 1902. One sculptural group displayed in this exhibition, The Wretched, comprising seven figures in various states of physical and mental misery, earned Fuller the designation “delicate sculptor of horrors” from the French press.5 Another equally morbid piece in the Bing exhibition. The Impenitent Thief, eventually found its way, courtesy of Rodin's sponsorship, into the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts Salon in 1903.

Unfortunately, Fuller was not able to see her entry as it appeared in the Salon, because she was called home in 1902 by an anxious mother, who had decided that Fuller had “finished” herself sufficiently and was now due, if not overdue, for marriage and family. Fuller always considered her time in Paris to have been fundamental to her career success and encouraged many others in the African American arts community to pursue studies there if at all possible. In doing so, Fuller no doubt helped to trailblaze what would eventually become the fabled “The Negro Colony” of the 1920s and 1930s, which included Aaron Douglas, Palmer Hayden, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, Augusta Savage, and Laura Wheeler Waring, among many others.

Fuller married the Liberian neurologist Solomon C. Fuller in 1909 and became absorbed in married life. Her subsequent professional career never fully realized the promise of the heady early years in Paris, although she worked steadily throughout the rest of her life, receiving numerous prestigious public commissions. While some of the failure to reach the heights of artistic fame may be ascribed to the demands of her roles as doctor's wife and mother of three, most of the blame must lie with the rampant and institutionalized racism that effectively barred her from gallery and museum representation in the United States (and made life very uncomfortable for her when the Fullers became one of the first black families to settle in Framingham, Massachusetts).

It was only after she experienced the virulence of racist America, as well as strong encouragement from W.E.B. Du Bois to resort more to subjects of African cultural heritage, that Fuller added a heightened race consciousness to the romantic modernism of her sculpture, finding in the process a significant black audience for her work. In this new vein, she created works commemorating the Middle Passage, the Emancipation, and the civil rights movement; the aforementioned The Awakening of Ethiopia', and the powerful Talking Skull (bronze, 1937). Talking Skull visually recounts an African folktale that tells of a young boy who encounters a sort of oracular skull in the African desert and who implores it to speak wisdom to the chief and people of his troubled village.6 Light flickers across the bronze's Rodinesque surface, adding to the drama one senses in the interaction of the boy and the skull, accenting the tense grace of the anxious youth's kneeling body.

Fuller's raised social consciousness also resulted in her work on behalf of Framingham's equal suffrage movement and later, when she saw how little universal suffrage had extended into the African American community, on behalf of the voter registration campaign in the American South. She died in 1968, at the height of the African American struggle for equal rights, justice, and power, after a long life in which she pioneered African American achievement in the arts and during which her sculpture became powerful visual symbols of Pan-Africanism.

Notes

1. Richard J. Powell, Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century (New York: Thames & Hudson, 1997), p. 37.
2. Jontyle Theresa Robinson, Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists (Atlanta, Ga.: Spelman Museum of Fine Art, 1996), p. 56.
3. Ibid.
4. Judith Kerr, quoted in Robinson, Bearing Witness, p. 56.
5. Theresa Leininger, “The Transatlantic Tradition: African American Artists in Paris, 1830–1940,” in Asake Bomani and Belvie Rooks, eds., Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris (Fort Bragg, Cal.: Q.E.D. Press, 1992), p. 12.
6. Robinson, Bearing Witness, p. 58.

Hoard Adrienne W.

Born: 1949, Jefferson City, Missouri. Education: B.S., Fine Art/Art Education, cum laude, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri, 1970. M.F.A., Painting/Two-Dimensional Design, minoring in Museum Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1972. Ed.D., Art Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1985. Family: Daughter of Charles M. and Yvonne W. Hoard (both deceased), former educators at Lincoln University in Missouri. Career: Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, 1972. Instructor of Drawing at the New York-Phoenix School of Design and Researcher-Cataloguer for African Art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, 1973. Assistant Professor of Art and Black Studies, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1975–1980. Visiting Professor at Hong-Ik University, Department of Western Oil Painting and Visiting Professor at Ewha Women's University, Department of Decorative Arts, both in Korea, 1980. Art Teacher, University of Illinois Laboratory High School for Gifted and Talented Students, 1982–1985. Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Art Theory and Practice, Northwestern University, 1985. Associate Professor of Art Education, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 1986–1988. Associate Professor of Fine Art and Art Education, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1988–1998. Awards: CAPS Grant in Painting, New York State Council on the Arts, 1975. Fulbright-Hays International to Seoul, South Korea, 1980. Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Creative Arts, 1985. Multiethnic Award for Research, National Art Education Association and Louisiana State Department of Education VERY SPECIAL ARTS/Louisiana Grant, 1987. New Initiatives Faculty Grant from the Missouri University International Center (research travel to South Africa), 1998.

Selected Exhibitions

1998 Two Decades of Float Shapes: A Retrospective of 22 Years of Shaped Canvas Painting, Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, Kansas City, Missouri (traveling to Atrium Gallery at Lombardi Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.); Juried One Woman Exhibition, Lombardi Center Gallery, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
1996 Soweto to Salvador: Painting and Photography, Lincoln University Memorial Hall Gallery, Jefferson City, Missouri
1995 Not Your Typical Tuscan: An African American Perspective on Italy, Missouri University Ellis Library Galleries, Columbia, Missouri
1994 Etruscan Voyage, Hotel Park Palace, Florence, Italy; Cosmic Movements: Shapes and Planets, Elizabeth Rozier Gallery, Jefferson City, Missouri
1991 Cosmic Movements, Fontbonne College Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
1981 Korean Impressions: Painting and Photography, International Communication Agency Exhibition Hall, United States Embassy, Seoul, Korea
1980 One Woman Exhibition, Shelton Gallery, New York, New York
1979 Middle Passage, Ohio State University, Newark Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
1977 One Woman Exhibition, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York
1976 Sunbirds, Artforce Artists Co-op Gallery, Columbus, Ohio

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 African Odyssey, Margaret Hartwell Art Museum, Polar Bluff, Missouri, Mythmaker Gallery, Columbia, Missouri
1996 Black Creativity, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois
1993 Annual Women's Art Exhibition, UMC Brady Commons Gallery, Columbia, Missouri; African American Art, UMC Brady Commons Gallery, Columbia, Missouri
1992 People, Places and Things: An African American Perspective, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio; Visions 1992, Portfolio Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri; Survey of African American Art, St. Louis Art Gould, St. Louis, Missouri
1991 Purim Mask Invitational, The Jewish Community Museum, San Francisco, California
1989 Women in Color, Manhattan East Gallery of Fine Art, New York, New York
1986 Roots: A Contemporary Inspiration, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, Illinois
1982 Recent Acquisitions, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York
1981 Forever Free: Art by African-American Women, 1862–1980, Illinois State University Gallery, Normal, Illinois; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, Alabama, Gibbs Art Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina, University of Maryland College Park Art Gallery, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana (traveling exhibit)
1976 Butier Institute of American Art, Buder Ohio; 17 Wendell Street Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1975 CAPS Grantees in Painting, Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center Gallery, State University College, Fredonia, New York; Hard Edge '75, Aames Gallery, Soho, New York, New York
1974 Brooklyn Museum, New York; Acts of Art Gallery, New York, New York; Cinque Gallery, New York, New York

Selected Collections

Columbus Museum, Columbus, Ohio; Compulink International, Inc., Rollings Meadows, Illinois; Gourmet Services, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia; Korea National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, Korea; Korean Educational Development Institute, Seoul, Korea; Kyungbok Palace, Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; MCA Record Corporation, Los Angeles, California; The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City, New York; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Department of Music

Selected Publications

“Abstractionist Busy in Korea” (review). The Korea Times, January 30, 1981.

“Black Studies Mark Gains But Seek Wider Role” (review). New York Times, June 19, 1977.

Hoard, Adrienne. “The Black Aesthetic: An Empirical Feeling.” In Bernard Young, ed., Art, Culture and Ethnicity: An Anthology. Reston, Va.: National Art Education Association, 1990. pp. 155–168.

Hoard, Adrienne. “Frederick D. Bell, Black Classical Composer.” Black Creation Magazine 6, no. 4 (December), pp. 42–43.

Hoard, Adrienne. “Review of Farris's (ed.), 'Voices of Color: Art and Society in the Americas.' “ Journal of Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Research in Art Education 15 (1998), pp. 120–126.

Hoard, Adrienne. “Treatise on Creativity.” Gifted and Talented Digest vol. 15, no. 1, p. 14–15.

Hoard, Adrienne. “The Vision That Was Once a Reality—The Art of Brenda Lynn Robinson.” Mahogany Magazine 2, no. 25 (May 6, 1979), p. 16.

Igoe, Lynn Moody, and James Igoe. 250 Years of Afro-American Art. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1981.

Kelly, June. “Adrienne W. Hoard, Artist/Teacher.” Black Art and International Quarterly 2, no. 2 (Winter 1978), pp. 48–53.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Lewis, Samella. Art: African American. Los Angeles, Calif.: Hancraft Studios, 1978, 1980, 1990.

“Painting Their Lot in Black and White” (review). News Day, August 28, 1975, p. 10.

Review. St. Louis Post/Dispatch, December 8, 1991, p. 8E.

Self, Dana, ed. Two Decades of Float Shapes: A Retrospective of 22 Years of Shaped Canvas Paintings. Kansas City, Mo.: Homegirl, Inc., 1998. Exhbn cat.

Artist Statement (1998) 1

The life of an artist is lived on the edge. The edge of creativity, the edge of a new color mixture, the wing's edge of a new culture uncovered and discovered through direct experience. There is always the thrill of risk, the invitation of the feeling of the next unknown adventure, waiting to be accomplished, then brought from artistic subconscious into tangible form, for the emotive pleasure of the form, for the viewing of sojourning spirits, for pleasure. Peace, Joy, Love and security.

Note

1. Adrienne W. Hoard, “Artists' Statement,” in Dana Self, ed., Two Decades of Float Shapes: A Retrospective of 22 Years of Shaped Canvas Paintings (Kansas City, Mo.: Homegirl, Inc., 1998), p. 11.

Biographical Essay

Adrienne Hoard, acclaimed painter and photographer, has exhibited and lectured internationally as a former Fulbright Scholar and former Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Known for her shaped canvases, which have progressed from hard-edged geometric perimeters to free-form organic shapes, which Hoard refers to as “float shapes,” her viewers over the years have been consistently mesmerized by her world of brilliant saturated color with sources from African and Native American histories of abstraction. Cubism, and universal spiritual cosmologies. Also an educator and scholar. Hoard's research into the psychology of visual perception of color and shape and linkages between visual abstraction and various indigenous aesthetics has had a profound impact on her development as a painter and her career in photography and design.

Hoard's intuitive feel for color can be traced to childhood experiences with her grandparents and parents in homes where abundant color, clay figures, artifacts, and musical sounds dominated the atmosphere. Her paternal grandfather of African descent who arrived in the United States in the late 1890s from the Caribbean and his wife, her paternal grandmother who was Blackfoot Indian/ Siksika, shared an oral storytelling tradition in which inanimate objects become animate and animals could speak, especially the turtle. Their spirituality included her grandfather's Christian ministry and her grandmother's memories of pre-Christian Siksika religion based on solar ceremonies and colorfully patterned religious paraphernalia—influences that later impacted Hoard's cosmology-enriched paintings. Both of Hoard's parents, who taught at Lincoln University, a historically black institution, undoubtedly influenced Hoard's decision to obtain a doctorate and combine an art teaching career with her drive to be an artist.

In phone interviews with the author and written communication. Hoard relayed her fine art career narrative as one in which manipulation of the perimeter frame of the canvas stretcher has been a passion in her paintings. Developing a functional technique for the building and stretching of free-form-shaped canvas constructions was helped through a 1994–1995 CAPS grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and the support of fellow black artists working with shaped canvases such as Betty Blayton-Taylor (founder of the Children's Art Carnival); Al Loving, who painted hexagons; and Ed Clark, who painted ovals. Acrylics on canvas from the 1970s were exhibited in one-woman shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Artforce Gallery in Ohio, with written commentary by black art historians David C. Driskell and Rosalind R. Jeffries and black artists Lois Mailou Jones and Mel Edwards.

The 1980s marked a transition in Hoard's work involving heavy textured oil paint with more painterly gestures—a transition that originated while a Fulbright Scholar (1980–1981) in Seoul, South Korea. Hoard describes Korea as a peninsula where life is ruled by the rhythms of nature, water, rocks, and wind. Hoard's new natural surroundings led to organically shaped perimeter forms with thick impasto layers of high-key colors.

Upon returning to the United States, Hoard pursued graduate research in the psychology of visual perception, focusing on the psychophysical literature of color theory perception and nonobjective art. Her doctoral dissertation, “Perception of Visual Structure in Abstract Painting,” became the focus of later writings on black aesthetics.

A Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Senior-Level Fellowship in Painting (1985–1986) allowed more time for in-depth studio concentration. Working with oil pastel, opaque and metallic pigment, and Korean watercolors on rag paper and linen. Hoard moved into an amorphous, expressive handling of color and materials. In one year she completed 23 works on paper and two acrylic-shaped canvas paintings in a series titled Tribal Birds. Five paintings from the Tribal Birds series were featured on Compact Disc cover booklets for Centaur Records' CD recordings of synchronic computer music. Booklets printed in English, French, and German were distributed internationally from 1988 to 1992.

A summer spent traveling/painting in Brazil and Peru (1989) was the beginning of Adrienne's Cosmic Movements series with works in oil and acrylic on heavy rag paper. While in Brazil, Adrienne presented a paper, 'The Black Aesthetic: An Empirical Feeling,” at the Third International Symposium on Art Teaching and Its History at City University in São Paulo, Brazil. The Cosmic Movements series was temporarily interrupted by the death of both her parents within an 11-month time span. Resuming her creative work to aid in her grief and recovery, Adrienne went on to produce 15 works in this series. Meteor Shower and Jupiter were reviewed in the St. Louis Dispatch with references to the work of Jean Arp, Jean Miro, and Henry Moore because of their “undulating primordial forms.” Two pieces from this series were also featured on cover booklets for Centaur Records.

Using travel again as sources for inspiration, Adrienne spent her university sabbatical in Florence, Italy (1993–1994) studying Etruscan symbology, culture, dance forms, and cosmology. The Etruscan Voyage, 8 works on paper and 12 shaped canvases, culminated in a one-women exhibit in Florence, Italy. Images such as The Duet (oil on shaped canvas, 100″ × 50″, 1994) and Smiling Butterfly are dual-shaped canvas forms that appear as one continuous image with designs and colors transported from one painting to the other—but still maintaining an individual identity. The paired images are based on Adrienne Hoard's research into Etruscan dance and ritual customs in which couples danced a public duet without touching and then were permitted to mate after completing the dance. Both the Etruscan Voyage and the Cosmic Movements provided solace and a sense of peace in dealing with personal tragedy.

The summer of 1996 was an opportunity to return to Brazil to present a paper entitled “Soul Aesthetic: A Cross-Cultural Event” at the Afro-Latin American Research Association and to meet “mai de santos” (mothers of spirit), Bahian, Brazilian priestesses, and also to visit Pretoria, South Africa, to observe and interact with Ndebele women artists. Both groups of women create abstract, colorful altar art forms to represent visual and spiritual traditions relevant to female deities and guardian spirits. Photographs and watercolor studies of the Brazilian and South African altar forms resulted in several oil paintings such as Bahia IV: Birdwomen, Trumpet-Dancer, Dark Lady Dance, The Dance of Innocence, and The Dance Weavers, all part of the Gate Mothers series. Technically the Gate Mothers series is an exploration of heavy oil paint, applied with a small “cat's tail” brush as opposed to the palette knife used in the Korean series and a color shift from high-key, brilliant to more tonal, less intense chroma assemblages. Spiritually, Adrienne Hoard describes the series as a salute to divine guardian spirits, her “altar offering” to black female healers/artists in Brazil, South Africa, and the entire black diaspora.

Adrienne Hoard's lifelong commitment to using psychology research, photography, design, and painting to study how colors interact with each other to create harmony and her continual body of series using abstraction to transmit universal cultural, spiritual, and historical traditions attests to Hoard's individuality and independence from contemporary art movements. In Two Decades of Float Shapes, Adrienne states that abstraction allows her freedom of total emotional expression while keeping her secrets. “Only the colors, authentic and bold, give any indication of the depth of my feelings, the intensity of my Truth, or the Joy in my passion.”1

Note

1. Adrienne W. Hoard, “Artists' Statement,” in Dana Self, ed., Two Decades of Float Shapes: A Retrospective of 22 Years of Shaped Canvas Paintings (Kansas City, Mo.: Homegirl, Inc., 1998), p. 11.

Jackson-Jarvis, Martha

Born: 1952, Lynchburg, Virginia. Education: B.F.A., Ceramics/Sculpture, Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1975. M.F.A., Sculpture/Ceramics, Antioch University, Columbia, Maryland, 1981. Family: Married and the mother of four children. Career: Artist-in-Residence, Howard University, Washington, D.C., 1979–1981. Artist-in-Residence, Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, 1987. Artist-in-Residence, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, 1988. University of the District of Columbia, 1986–1989. The Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C., 1986–1991. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, 1992–1994. Independent Artist, Jackson-Jarvis Studio, 1995-present. Awards: D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Individual Artist Grant in Sculpture, 1979–1980. Mayor's Art Award, Washington, D.C, Emerging Artist Award, 1982. D.C. Commission on the Arts Individual Artist Grant in Sculpture, 1986. National Endowment for the

Image
Click to see larger image

Last Rites Sarcophag I (Earth) by Martha Jackson-Jarvis, 1993, Clay, Glass, Cement, Wood, 4′ × 5′ × 2½′. Photograph by Harlee Little. Courtesy of Martha Jackson-Jarvis

Arts National Sculpture Grant, 1986. Penny McCall Foundation Grant Award in Sculpture, 1988. Virginia Groot Fellowship Grant in Sculpture, 1992. Arts International Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Grant, Travel Grant to Italy: The American Academy in Rome, 1992.

Selected Exhibitions

1996 Structuring Energy, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Boxes for OCHUM, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, Maryland
1991 BR Kornblatt Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1990 SUNY College at Brockport Tower Fine Arts Gallery, Brockport, New York
1989 BR Komblatt Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1988 University of Delaware, Museum Gallery, Newark, Delaware
1983 Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1981 Howard University, Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1980 Washington Project for the Arts (WPA), Washington, D.C.
1977 African American Historical Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 SPOLETO Festival USA, Human/Nature: Art and Landscape in Charleston and the Low Country, Charleston, South Carolina
1996 My Magic Pours Secret Libations, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Tampa, Florida; Contained and Uncontained, African-American Museum, Dallas, Texas; Actively Physical, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, Pennsylvania
1995 Three Dimensions: Women Sculptors of the 90's. Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York
1994 Across Borders/Sin Fronteras, The Art Museum of the Americas, Organization of American States, Washington, D.C.; Sources, University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, Maryland
1993 Artists Respond/New World Question, Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, New York; Connected Passages, Philadelphia African American Historical Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1992 Picturing Paradise: The Rain Forest at Risk, The Fembank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, Georgia; Invitational: “Arts of Grace," Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Newport News, Virginia
1991 Invitational: Recent Acquisitions and Loaned Works, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Washington/Moscow Exchange, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, USSR
1990 Invitational: The Decade Show, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, New York; Invitational: Next Generation: Southern Black Aesthetic, South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Invitational: Legacies, New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit, New Jersey
1989 Invitational: The Blues Aesthetic, The Washington Projects for the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Introspective Contemporary Art by Americans and Brazilians, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California
1988 Invitational: Art as a Verb, Maryland Art Institute College of Art, Myerhoff Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland
1987 Invitational: Contemporary Visual Experiences, Smithsonian Institution-Anacostia Museum, Washington, D.C.
1986 Invitational: The Other Gods, The Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York; Invitational: Generations in Transition, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois
1985 Invitational: Evocative Abstractions, Nexus Foundation for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1984 Invitational: National Contemporary Art East/West, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California; Invitational: Washington Sculpture, Georgetown Court Artist Space, Washington, D.C.
1980 Juried Exhibition: Sculpture 80, National Sculpture Conference, Baltimore, Maryland
1979 Invitational: Brooks Memorial Museum, Memphis, Tennessee

Selected Commissions

Arco Chemical Company, Newton Square Corporate Campus II, Newton Square, Pennsylvania; LaGuardia Community College, Long Island, New York; New York Transit Authority, Mount Vernon Station—Metro North, New York, New York; Prince George's County Courthouse, Upper Marlboro, Maryland; SPOLETO Festival USA 1997, Sculptural Garden, Charleston, South Carolina

Selected Collections

Arco Chemical Company; Artery Organization; Howery and Simon Law Firm; KPMG Peat Marwick; LaGuardia Community College; Lenkin Company; Merck Company; New York Transit Authority; Philip Morris Corporation; Sallie Mae

Selected Publications

Chapp, Belena. Martha Jackson-Jarvis. Newark: University Gallery, University of Delaware, 1988.

Didach Anne S. “University Gallery, University of Delaware, Newark; Exhibit.” New Art Examiner 16 (October 1988), pp. 54–55.

Driskell, David C, ed. African-American Visual Aesthetics: A Postmodernist View. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995.

Howell, George. “Martha Jackson-Jarvis.” Art Papers 20 (November-December 1996), p. 46.

“Interview with Joyce Scott, Winnie R. Owens-Hart, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, and Pat Ward Williams.” In Next Generation: Southern Black Aesthetic. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, 1990. Exhbn cat.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Lewis, Samella. African-American Art and Artists. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990.

Lippard, Lucy. Mixed Blessings. New York: Pantheon Books, 1990.

Powell, Richard J. Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. London: Thames & Hudson, 1997.

Robinson, Jontyle Theresa. Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Women Artists. Atlanta, Ga.: Spelman College; New York, Rizzoh International Publ., 1996. Exbhn cat.

Weaver, A. M. “Suspended Metaphors.” International Review of African-American Art 13, no. 3 (1996), pp. 32–41.

Artist Statement (1990) 1

I want to go to the beginning and search through those very basic things that work for me as an artist. These are probably things that don't get addressed publicly that often, but they go into the work. I can only hope that once I've produced the work, once I've laid it bare, that I'll indeed begin to communicate some of these things. I have to search within myself, my existence, for a functioning definition of what I believe art to be. For art is that thing that has carried me from being a student to making my way in the real world.

Note

1. From Samella Lewis, African-American Art and Artists (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990), p. 282.

Biographical Essay

Martha Jackson-Jarvis is most noted for her mixed-media installations that explore aspects of African, African American, and Native American spirituality, ecological concerns, and the roles of women in preserving indigenous cultures. Composed of terra-cotta, sand, copper, wood, plexiglass, glazed clay fragments, architectural tile, and coal, her floor/freestanding/wall relief ceramic sculptures are both abstract and representational in form, with abstraction dominating. Jackson-Jarvis's seemingly abstract shapes and forms, often made from recycled pottery shards, possess a subtle symbolism that may not be obvious to the casual observer. But Jackson-Jarvis refers to their connection with West African spirituality, especially in issues concerning death and the afterlife.

As a child growing up in Lynchburg, Virginia, Martha accompanied her grandmother to a local spring to gather white clay. Making clay dolls and other objects inspired Martha at an early age to want to be an artist. Her idea to use broken pottery shards and other objects strewn on the floor in site-specific installations is inspired by her grandmother's custom of placing crockery and pottery shards on family grave sites. This southern black burial tradition is based on African concepts of preparing souls for the afterlife. Other southern traditions that impacted on her later art development are associations with the use of clay by Native Americans and the belief that Native American spirits are ever present in what is now the United States.

In addition to the African and Native American cultural influences, Martha's 1980s pieces also contain biological symbolism based on beliefs about life originating from what some consider “inanimate” objects but what other cultures consider “alive.” Jackson-Jarvis considers her clay pieces “power objects.” Pieces resembling skeletons of underwater life are arranged in environments of sand, natural substances, and wood, covering the floor in a circular formation and extending to the walls.

Martha's best-known work from this period is the 1988 Gathering instaflation at the University Gallery of the University of Delaware. Forty feet in diameter, the circular gathering on the floor and the pieces on the surrounding wall consist of irregular shaped forms of fired and glazed clay, broken plates, cups, and saucers, and architectural tiles—links to her grandmother's African-derived ritual of laying broken pottery shards on funeral grounds. Other installations from this period use the word gather in the title—The Time Gathers and The Gathering and Arc of the Southern Sun.

Since the 1990s Martha Jackson-Jarvis has moved away from concentrating on installations to create freestanding sculptural forms and wall relief sculptures—but maintaining her earlier African and Native American cultural referents. Most noted in her early 1990s work is Last Rites Sarcophagi II (1993, clay, slate, Venetian glass, copper, cement, wood)—a series of seven coffin-shaped tables titled Plants, Earth, Air, Water, Healing, Blood, and Ancestor Spirits, the tallest being eight feet. Its environmental theme of earth's potential destruction, life cycles, and the interrelatedness of humans, animals, and nature is a continuation of Jackson-Jarvis's respect for indigenous cultures. Also from this period is another sarcophagi series—Table of Plenty, altarlike structures of sarcophagi elevated on wrought iron legs. The eight tables in the series have detailed mosaic surfaces consisting of clay cast collard greens, slate, coal, and metal.

Martha's recent works are bas reliefs of boxed shapes hung on walls created with inlays of Venetian glass, clay fish, encrusted silver, gold and silver paint, tiles, and clay cast collard greens. Blue Fish (1985, clay, glass, coal, paper, 41″ × 19″ × 12″ in diameter) and Collard Box (1995, clay, glass, cement, wood, 36″ × 33″ × 16″ in diameter) cross the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and crafts.

Like many women artists of her generation, Martha Jackson-Jarvis is eschewing the traditional dichotomies between “high art” versus crafts and utilitarian art objects versus “art for art's sake.” Her respect for pottery, an earth-based art form that is usually created by women in indigenous societies, is taken out of its usual practical applications and applied to intellectual formats such as conceptual art/installations. However, the spiritual component of Martha's art links it back to indigenous African and Native American cultures that do not separate art and religion. Also, the theoretical basis of installation art that demands a temporary location and eventual destruction and/or recycling has parallels with Native American practices such as Navajo sandpaintings. Martha's 1980s installations have certain affinities with Sara Bates's Native American Honorings installations. It is interesting to note some of the similarities between both traditional African and Native American art and contemporary similarities expressed by artists such as Martha Jackson-Jarvis. It reinforces the need for the type of research that investigates cross-cultural links among “peoples of color.”

Jones, Lois Mailou

Born: 1905, Boston, Massachusetts. Education: Diploma in Design, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1927. Certificate, Boston Normal Art School, 1927. Diploma, Designers Art School of Boston, 1928. A.B., art education, Howard University, 1945. Family: Parents Thomas Vreeland Jones and Carolyn Dorinda Adams. Brother John Wesley Jones. Married Haitian graphic artist and designer Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noël in 1953. Career: Freelance textile and fabric designer. Head of art department, Palmer Memorial Institute Junior College, Sedalia, North Carolina, 1928–1930. Professor of art, Howard University, 1930–1977. Freelance illustrator for Associated Publishers of Washington, 1936–1965. Awards: Honorable Mention, Harmon Foundation Exhibition, 1930. General Education Board Fellowship to study at Académic Julian, Paris, 1937. Robert Woods Bliss Prize for Landscape, The Society of Washington Artists, 1941. Women of 1946 Award, National Council of Negro Women, 1946. John Hope Prize for Landscape, Atlanta University Annual Exhibition, 1949. Oil Painting Award, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1949. National Printing Award, Mead Papers, Dayton, Ohio, 1950. Oil Painting Award, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1953. Diplôme et Décoration de L'Ordre National “Honneur et Mérite au Grade de Chevalier,” Government of Haiti, 1954. Popular Prize, Atlanta University Annual Exhibition, 1955. Pyramid Club Meritorious Award for Achievement in Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1957. Award for Oil Painting, National Museum of Art, Washington, D.C., 1960. Franz Bader Award for Oil Painting, Washington Society for Artists, National Museum of Art, Washington, D.C., 1962. Howard University Research Grant, “The Black Visual Arts,” Haiti, 1968. Howard University Research Grant, “The Black Visual Arts,” Africa and United States, 1969. Alain Locke Award, Cleveland University, 1972. Howard University Research Grant, “Women Artists of the Caribbean and Afro-American Artists,” 1973. Honorary Doctorate, Colorado State Christian College, 1973. Diploma Award, The World's Who's Who of Women, Cambridge, England, 1973. Howard University Fine Arts Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1975. Edward Mitchell Bannister Award for Great Contribution to American and Afro-American Art, National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, 1976. Award of Appreciation, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Washington, D.C., 1978. Alumni Achievement Award, Howard University, 1978. President Jimmy Carter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, 1980. Honorary Doctorate, Suffolk University, Boston, 1981. Candace Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983. Mayor's Third Annual Art Awards, Washington, D.C., 1983. July 29 declared Lois Jones Day in Washington, D.C., 1984. Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts Award, Women's Caucus for Art, Cooper Union, New York, 1986. Honorary Doctorate, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, 1986. Honorary Doctorate, Howard University, Washington, D.C., 1987. Died: 1998, Martha's Vineyard, Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.

Exhibitions

1994 Red Bam Gallery, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
1990 The World of Lois Mailou Jones, Meridian House International, Washington, D.C. (traveling show)
1989 St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's City, Maryland
1988 Brody Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Armour J. Blackburn Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1987 Howard University, Washington, D.C.
1986 Musee d'Art Haitien, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
1985 Harbor Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Boston
1984 Bethune Museum and Archives, Washington, D.C.; Reynolds House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
1979 Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
1973 Reflective Moments, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
1972 40 Years of Painting, Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1968 Galerie International, New York, New York; Smith-Mason Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Association for the Presentation and Preservation of the Arts, Washington, D.C
1967 Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
1966 Galerie Soulanges, Paris, France
1961 Galerie International, New York, New York
1955 Pan American Union Building, Washington, D.C
1954 Centre d'Art, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
1948 Whyte Gallery; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1947 Lincoln University, Lincoln, Pennsylvania
1946 Bamett-Aden Gallery, Washington, D.C
1940 Morgan State College, Baltimore, Maryland
1939 Robert C Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts
1937 Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1935 Hampton University Founder's Day, Hampton, Virginia
1929 Martha's Vineyard, Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Selected Group Exhibitions

1996 Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia
1988 Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, China
1987 The Art of Black America in Japan, Tokyo and Chiba, Japan
1985 Hidden Heritage, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington (traveling show); Tradition and Conflict, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (traveling show)
1984 Emily Lowe Gallery, Hempstead, New York; Jamaica Arts Center, New York, New York; Museum of African Art, Los Angeles, California; Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
1983 The Granary Gallery of Art, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
1977 High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; San José Museum of Art, San José, California
1976 Six Distinguished Women Artists, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Two Centuries of Black American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California (traveling show)
1975 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1974 Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
1972 Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Scripps College, Claremont, California; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1971 New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
1968 The Art Club, Washington, D.C.
1967 Oakland Museum, Oakland, California; City University of New York, New York, New York
1966 Société des Artistes Français, Grand-Palais, Paris, France
1962 Rhodes National Gallery, Zimbabwe
1952 American University, Washington, D.C.
1951 Corcoran Gallery of Art Biennial Exhibition, Washington, D.C.
1950 ACA Gallery, New York, New York; Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, New York
1942 National Academy of Design, New York, New York
1941 Philips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle, Washington
1940 American Negro Exhibition, Chicago, Illinois; National Museum of Art, Washington, D.C.
1938 Société des Artistes Français, Grand-Palais, Paris, France; Galerie de Paris, Paris, France; Galerie Jean Charpentier, Paris, France
1936 Washington, D.C., Public Library, Washington, D.C.; Texas Centennial, Hall of Negro Life, Houston, Texas
1931 Biennial Exhibition, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Permanent Collections

American Embassy, Luxembourg; Andr é w Rankin Chapel, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Carl Van Vechten Gallery of Art, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee; Galerie International, New York, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; International Fair Gallery, Ismir, Turkey; Johnson Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Museum of African-American Art, Tampa, Florida; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Palais National, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; The Rosenwald Foundation, Chicago, Illinois; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Taylor Gallery, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina; University of Panjab, Pakistan; University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; Walker Art Museum, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine; Walter Reed Army Medical Center Museum, Washington, D.C

Publications

Afro-American Women in Art: Their Achievements in Sculpture and Painting. Greensboro, N.C.: Negro Heritage Committee, Beta Iota Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1969. Exhbn cat.

Bearden, Romare, and Harry Henderson. A History of African-American Artists from 1792 to the Present. New York: Pantheon, 1993.

Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists. Atlanta, Ga.: Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, 1996. Exhbn cat.

Benjamin, Tritobia H. The Life and Art of Lois Mailou Jones. San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1994.

Benjamin, Tritobia H. The World of Lois Mailou Jones. Washington, D.C: Meridian House International, 1990.

Black Women in the Visual Arts: A Tribute to Lois Mailou Jones. Washington, D.C: Martin Luther King Memorial Library, 1979.

Bontemps, Arna, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1962–1980. Alexandria, Va.: Stephenson, 1980.

Dover, Cedric. American Negro Art. New York: Graphic Society, 1960.

Driskell, David. Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art, 1800–1950. Bellevue, Wash.: Bellevue Museum, 1985.

Driskell, David. Two Centuries of Black American Art. New York: Knopf, 1976.

Fax, E. C. Seventeen Black Artists. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1971.

Fifteen Afro-American Women. Greensboro, N.C.: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, 1970.

Fine, Elsa Honig. The Afro-American Artist. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973.

Haitian Ceramics from the Centre Ceramique, Port-au-Prince, and Paintings of Haiti by Lois M. Jones. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Gallery of Art, 1965.

“In the Galleries: Lois Mailou Jones.” Arts 35 (March 1961), p. 52.

Jones, Lois Mailou. Contemporary African Art. Washington, D.C.: Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1970.

Jones, Lois Mailou. Lois Mailou Jones: Peintures 1937–51. Tourcoing, France: Presses Georges Frère, 1952.

LaDuke, Betty. Africa through the Eyes of Women Artists. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1991.

Lewis, Samella. Art: African-American. San Diego, Calif.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978.

Locke, Alain. Negro Art: Past and Present. New York: Hacker, 1968.

Lois and Pierre: Two Master Artists. Boston: Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, 1983.

Lois Mailou Jones: Retrospective Exhibition. Forty Years of Painting, 1932–72. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Gallery of Art, 1972.

Morrison, Keith. Art in Washington and Its Afro-American Presence: 1940–1970. Washington, D.C.: Washington Project for the Arts, 1985.

Porter, James A. Modern Negro Art. New York: Amo Press, 1969.

Schmidt-Campbell, Mary, and David C. Driskell. Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America. New York: Studio Museum and Harry N. Abrams, 1987.

Tradition and Conflict: Images of a Turbulent Decade, 1963–1973. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1985. Exhbn cat.

Wardlaw, Alvia, Barry Gaither, Regina Perry, and Robert Farris Thompson. Black Arts, Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African-American Art. New York: Abrams, 1990.

Wright, Beryl J., and G. A. Reynolds. Against the Odds: African-American Artists and the Harmon Foundation. Newark, N.J.: Newark Museum of Art, 1989. Exhbn cat.

Biographical Essay

When she was young Lois Mailou Jones remembers drawing all the time and making storybooks that she could illustrate. Her parents sent her to the High School of Practical Arts, and she won four consecutive scholarships to attend after-school drawing classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1919–1923). In high school she apprenticed with Grace Ripley, a costume designer at the Rhode Island School of Design. Afterward she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, and was awarded the Susan Minot Lane Scholarship in Design for four consecutive years. In her senior year she received the Nathaniel Thayer Prize for excellence in design. While she was at the MFA, she took evening classes at the Boston Normal Art School. Afterward, she began graduate studies at the Designers Art School of Boston. She began a career as a freelance fabric designer for department stores and manufacturers.

In 1928 Jones met Charlotte Hawkins Brown from the Palmer Memorial Institute Junior College, and she moved to Sedalia, North Carolina, to create an art department there. In 1930 she was recruited by James Vernon Herring to join the Department of Art at Howard University, Washington, D.C. There she worked with James A. Porter, an important scholar, and taught classes in design. In 1934 she took a summer session course at Columbia University to study masks of non-Western cultures. In 1937 she was awarded a General Education Board Fellowship to study at the Academic Julian in Paris for one year. It was there that she began to develop her own style and started to think of herself as a painter rather than a teacher and designer.

Upon her return Jones met Alain Locke, who encouraged her to move away from her impressionistic style so influenced by European painters and to introduce into her work subject matter that related to her own heritage and ancestral legacy. Like many other African American artists of the time, she began to depict a black consciousness and focused on the dignity of her subjects. Jones made frequent trips to New York, where she met many key figures in the “New Negro Movement.” While many of her works from this period used African American subject matter, she continued to paint landscapes and portraits in Cubist and Postimpressionist fashion, and she traveled to France every summer from 1946 through 1953. Two works made in 1938 demonstrate her styles very well. Rue St. Michel is a Cezanne-like depiction of a Paris street, and Les Fétiches emphasizes the geometric patterns of a group of African masks. While the influence of Cubism is clear, she also uses the masks as an extension of her own cultural heritage. In later work she makes direct reference to African American experience. In her pivotal work Meditation (Mob Victim) 1944, Jones paints an image of both power and resignation. The lynch victim, with eyes turned upward, stands erect and dignified even in his anguish.

In 1953, Jones married Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noël, whom she had met at Columbia University in 1934 when they were both taking summer courses. Pierre-Noël was from Haiti, and although they lived in Washington, D.C, they visited the island every year for over three decades. Even after Pierre-Noël's death in 1982, Jones continued to travel there. On her very first visit Jones was invited by Haitian President Paul E. Magliore to paint a series of works that would show the peoples and landscapes of his nation and to teach at the Centre d'Art and the Foyer des Arts Plástiques. On September 17, 1954, she was awarded the Diplome et Decoration de L'Ordre National “Honneur et Merite au Grade de Chevalier.” The experience of Haiti significantly changed her work, and she began to incorporate Haitian life, culture, and religion in colorful, abstract, and decorative style. She depicted the markets, the rhythms, and colors and used symbols from voodoo rituals. In her work Vendeuses de Tissus (1961), Jones shows the bright colors worn by the vendors and the rhythms of their bodies. The clear connections to Africa in Haiti also greatly impressed Jones, and she began to include more African imagery such as masks, sculpture, and patterns into her paintings.

In 1970 Jones visited 11 African countries in order to conduct research on the art and artists there. Through a grant from Howard University, she gathered information and interviewed artists in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Zaire, Nigeria, Dahomey, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Senegal. On her tour she gave lectures on African American art for the U.S. Information Service. Similar to her experiences in Haiti, the whole trip made a lasting impression on her and influenced her work. She was able to see clearly the relationship between African art and African American art. Her work of the 1970s and 1980s reflects her interest in African sculpture, textile patterns, and masks. In Ubi Girl from the Tai Region (1972) Jones combines new and old, painting and design, realism and symbolism.

In 1989 Jones returned to France to complete a series of Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintings in an effort to revisit the style of her early career. Later that year she suffered a heart attack but was back on her feet for the opening of her retrospective The World of Lois Mailou Jones. In her later years she never slowed down and continued to travel, lecture, and show her work: She was commissioned to design the movie poster for Cry the Beloved Country, and she gave President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton a watercolor for the White House when they attended her exhibit at the Red Bam Gallery, Martha's Vineyard, in 1994. She had a long and prolific career, and she was adamant that she would paint until the end. She adapted to the times and retained a strong interest in depicting the “black experience” and in producing work of the highest standards. While she was innovative throughout her career, in recent years she waited for the creative spirit to move her and remained interested in her early styles. She demonstrated her great passion for making art and is remembered by her students as having imbued in them that same passion. Jones died in the summer of 1998 at Martha's Vineyard, Oak Bluffs, in Massachusetts.

Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne

Born: 1951, Chicago, Illinois. Education: B.F.A., Photography, The Cooper Union, New York, New York, 1975. Family. Widow of tennis star Arthur Ashe. Mother of one daughter. Camera. Career. Freelance photographer for magazines, news associations, and private and public organizations since the 1970s. Photography and graphic design for NBC, New York City, New York, 1974–1977. Photography Editor, PM Magazine, WNEW-TV, New York City, New York, 1982–1983. Appointed by President Clinton to serve as an Alternate Representative of the United States to the Fiftieth Session of the United General Assembly. Currently Photography Instructor at the Dalton School, New York City, New York. Awards: CEBA Award for IBM Advertisement, 1979. City of Chicago Mayoral Citation for Viewfinders, 1986. Distinguished Alumni Citation, The Cooper Union, 1990. Featured “Style Maker,” Book Fair Organizer, New York Times, 1991. Inwood House, Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger Award for Contributions to Family Life, 1994. Mother's Voices, Care Giver Award, 1994. Catholic Big Sisters Award, 1995. National Mother's Day Committee, Outstanding Mother Award, 1996.

Selected Exhibitions

1999 Leica Gallery, New York, New York
1996–1997 Leica Gallery, New York, New York
1993 Daddy and Me, Marymount School, New York, New York
1992 DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
1989 DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, The Elbow Room, London, England
1983 Suttons Black Heritage Gallery, Houston, Texas; Chicago Public Li brary Cultural Center, Chicago, Illinois
1982 Simmons College Art Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts; Image and Imagination, Jazzonia Gallery, Detroit, Michigan; DAUFUSKIE ISLAND: A Photographic Essay, The Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina
1979 A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Art Salon, New York, New York; Light Images, Excelsior Hotel, Florence, Italy
1978 South Africa: Impressions, Just Above Midtown Gallery, New York, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1998 Weddings, Leica Gallery, New York, New York
1993–1994 The African Americans (traveling exhibit)
1992–1994 Songs of My People (traveling exhibit)
1988 Photographs, Isobel Neal Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1986 Art against Apartheid: 3 Perspectives, Schomburg Center, New York, New York; America: Another Perspective, New York University, New York, New York
1984 A Group Show, Gallery Castillo, New York, New York; 14 Photog raphers, Schomburg Center, New York, New York
1982 Group Exhibition, Jazzonia Gallery, Detroit, Michigan
1981 Products of the Seventies, Cooper Union Houghton Gallery, New York
1980 Port Authority Celebrates Black History, World Trade Center, New York, New York
1979 Official Portraits: Photographs of the Carter Administration, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Self-Portrait, Black Enterprise, New York, New York
1978 Black Photographers Annual (traveling exhibition for the Soviet Union)
1977 The Black Photographer, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1976 Sun People, Benin Gallery, New York, New York

Selected Collections

Columbia Museum of Art and Science, Columbia, South Carolina; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C,; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/New York Public Library, New York; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, New York

Selected Publications

Ashe, Arthur. Days of Grace. New York: Knopf, 1993.

Ashe, Arthur. Getting Started in Tennis. Photographs by Jeanne Moutoussamy. New York: Atheneum, 1977.

Ashe, Arthur. Off the Court. New York: New American Libraries, 1981.

Black Photographers Annual. Vols. 2 and 4. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Another View, Inc., 1972, 1975.

Champions and Challengers Series. Tracy Austin, Bjorn Borg, Franco Harris, Reggie Jackson. EMC Publishers, 1977.

Essence. May 1986, pp. 120–121.

Essence. March 1994, p. 67.

Harper's Baazar. February 1990, p. 146.

Jet. May 8, 1980.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Life. November 1993, pp. 61–68.

Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy. New York: Random House, 1983.

Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne. Daufuskie Island: A Photography Essay. (Foreword by Alex Haley.) Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1982.

Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne. Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers, 1839–1985. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1986.

Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne, and Camera Ashe. Daddy and Me: A Photo Story of Arthur Ashe and His Daughter. New York: Knopf, 1993.

New York Times. March 3, 1991, p. 46.

Randolph, Laura B. “Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe: On Love, Loss and Life after Arthur.” Ebony 48, no. 12 (October 1993), pp. 27–32.

Reynolds, Pamela. “The Black Experience in Pictures.” Boston Globe, April 12, 1986.

Sepia. December 1981.

Songs of My People. New York: Little Brown, 1992.

Time. April 12, 1993, p. 81.

Biographical Essay

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, photojournalist and social activist, has been working professionally since the 1970s for public/private corporations and independently. During the early stages of her career, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe worked as a photographer/graphic designer for NBC News Center 4, as a contributing editor for 5//magazine, photo commentator for television's PM Magazine, and photographer for the Associated Press. She has freelanced for Life, Smithsonian, New York Times, Detroit News, and Sports Illustrated. Other projects Moutoussamy-Ashe has been involved with include producing and directing The Sun, a film on children for the United Nations International Year of the Child, 1979; an eight-month research project in West Africa, West African Poly rhythms and Lifestyles, 1974; and a three-year photo documentation of African Americans on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, 1977–1980. Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe also serves on several boards, serving as the Chairperson of The Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS. In 1995 she was appointed by President Clinton to serve as an Alternate Representative of the United Nations General Assembly. During her career as a photographer she has also exhibited her work in solo/group shows in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Europe.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe is the daughter of an architect father and interior designer mother. Growing up in an environment that encouraged creativity, she attended her first art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago when she was eight years old. As a teenager, exposure to the work of African American photographer Roy DeCarava inspired Jeanne to pursue that medium as a career. Upon completion of a B.F.A. in 1975 from New York's Cooper Union School of Art Jeanne began to work at NBC and met her future husband, tennis star Arthur Ashe, on a shooting assignment. After leaving NBC in 1977, Jeanne had more time to devote to artistic projects, exhibitions, public lectures, and freelance assignments.

A committed social activist, Jeanne uses her photography to visually communicate pressing issues. Her travels to South Africa in the 1980s to document black life under apartheid culminated in the 1984 exhibit Arr against Apartheid: 3 Perspectives at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library. Her documentary work on black descendants of slaves living on the South Carolina island Dafuskie gave greater public exposure to these Gullah-speaking inhabitants who have retained much of their ancestors' African traditions. Jeanne's 1982 book Daufuskie Island: A Photographic Essay evolved into three exhibits in 1982, 1989, and 1992.

Widely acclaimed by historians, social scientists, and feminists as well as a photography audience, Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers, 1839–1985 is Jeanne's historical survey of women who have often been unrecognized by the photography establishment. It chronicles nineteenth-century black women working in portraiture up to contemporary photographers in the 1980s, utilizing a variety of styles and formats.

After the 1993 death of her husband Arthur Ashe from AIDS induced by a tainted blood transfusion, Jeanne took on another cause and once again used photography to relay her message. In collaboration with her daughter Camera, who provided the text. Daddy and Me: A Photo Story of Arthur Ashe and His Daughter is a children's book that demystifies AIDS for children, showing them how families can lead relatively normal lives when a loved one has AIDS, helping them to understand how to live with the illness and help the sick loved one and how to cope with the impending mortality. The photos portray Camera and Arthur Ashe enjoying each other's company despite impending death. The book can also be applicable to other situations in which a young child has to face the death of a parent.

Moutoussamy-Ashe continues to be involved in photographic projects, community issues, and social activism as she adjusts to the responsibilities of single parenthood. As a founding member of the Black Family Cultural Exchange, her latest efforts involve organizing book fairs for and about black children, proceeds of which go to scholarship funds and book funds for local community organizations.

Musasama, Sana

Born: 1953, Queens, New York. Education: B.A., Ceramics/Education, City College, City University of New York, 1974. M.F.A., Ceramics, Alfred State College of Ceramics, New York, 1987. Also studied at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana; Gakium Designer College in Tokyo, Japan; Tus-carora International School of Ceramics, Tuscarora, Nevada; and Mende Pottery, Mende Sierra Leone, West Africa. Career: Research Assistant, The Schomberg Center, New York, 1989. The Dalton School, New York, 1989–1994. Adjunct Professor, City College, City University of New York, 1991-present. Visiting Professor, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, 1994–1995. Adjunct Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York, 1995-present. Awards: Atlanta Life Insurance Company, 1987–1988. Empire State Craft AUiance Grant, 1989. Mid-Atlantic Grant, Baltimore, Maryland, 1990. Mid-Atlantic Grant, Manchester Guild, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1992. Pollack-Krasner Foundation, 1992. Empire State Craft Alliance Grant, 1992. Dalton School Sunmier Research Grant to Thailand, 1993. New York Foundation Fellowship,

Image
Click to see larger image

Artist Sana Musasama with Maple Tree Series by Sana Musasama, 1995, ceramic sculpture. Photograph by B. Vincent. Courtesy of Sana Musasama

1995. Perspectives in African American Art, Seagrams Award, 1995–1996.

Selected Exhibitions

1998 Maple Tree Series, Fine Arts Gallery, Long Island University, Southampton, New York
1997 Maple Tree Series II, June Kelly Gallery, New York, New York
1995 June Kelly Gallery, New York, New York
1994 Legacy, Sewickley Academy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1992 Ceramic Sculpture, Manchester Craftsman Guild, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1989 Echoes & Excavations, Soho 20 Gallery, New York, New York
1987 The Garden Series, Cinque Gallery, New York, New York
1986 Artist-in-Residence Exhibit, Jamaica Arts Center, Jamaica, New York
1985 Montana Series, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1998 Constructions in Multiple Hues, Painted Bride Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; National Conference on the Education of Ceramic Art, Irving Arts Center, Irving, Texas
1997 Women in Full Effect, Rush Art Gallery, New York; Forms and Transformations in Ceramics from Art to Industry, Queens Borough Public Library, New York; The Next Mill, Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Voices of Color, Union Gallery, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
1996 A Love of Labor, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, New York
1995–1996 In Three Dimensions: Women Sculptors of the 90's, Staten Island, New York; Exploring a Movement: Feminist Visions in Clay, Wignall Museum, Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, California; New York Clay, Gallery BKF, Oslo, Norway
1994 American Craft Museum, New York, New York
1993 Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, New York; Kingsborough Corn munity College, Brooklyn, New York
1992 Material Evidence, Baltimore School for the Arts, Baltimore, Maryland
1991 The French Consulate, New York, New York; Residence Show, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, New York; June Kelly Gallery, New York, New York
1990 The Residence Show, Baltimore Clay Works, Baltimore, Maryland; Box Works, Art in General, New York, New York; Shapeshifters, Triplex Gallery, New York, New York
1988 Cité des Arts, Paris, France; Introductions, June Kelly Gallery, New York, New York
1987 Wellspring Series, Ken Keleba Gallery, New York, New York

Selected Commissions

1997 Woodbum Center, Baltimore, Maryland
1996 Stateway Gardens House, Chicago, Illinois
1992 Manchester Craftsman Guild, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1985 Art Park, Lewistown, New York
1983 Art Park, Lewistown, New York

Selected Collections

Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana; Atlanta Life Insurance Company Atlanta, Georgia; European Ceramic Center, Hertogenbosch, Holland; Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, China; Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York; The Studio Museum, New York, New York; Tuscarora Historical Museum, Tuscarora, Nevada

Selected Publications

“Adventurous Women.” Essence, July 1995.

“African-American Artists,” Westchester Times, November 1992, p. 11.

“Against All Odds: African-American Women Artists.” Essence, September 1992, p. 103.

Ancient Inspirations/Contemporary Interpretations. Robertson Center for the Arts and Sciences, August 1982. Cat.

“Art Guide.” New York Times, January 16, 1998.

Baltimore City Sun. July 9, 1997.

Bobrowski, Gina. “Simultaneous Demonstrations: Toby Buonagurio, Sana Musasama and Matt Nolan.” N.C.E.C.A. Journal (1997), p. 52–54.

Boyle, Donald, ed. Black Arts Annual. New York: Garland Publishing, 1989, p. 36.

“Interview with Sana Musasama.” In Phoebe Farris, ed., Voices of Color: Art and Society in the Americas. Atlantic Highland, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1997.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

“Maine Coasts Artists/Rockport Watershed: The Historical Present.” Art New England OReview (October-November 1994), p. 31.

“The Maple Tree Series.” Cover Magazine, May 1995, p. 10.

Modern/Post Modern Sculpture. Kenkelaba Gallery, October 1984. Cat.

Poetic License. New York: Sailer Center for the Arts, SUNY/Stony Brook, December 1990. Cat.

“Sana Musasama: Maple Tree Series.” Long Island Times, March 6, 1998.

Schlesinger, Toni. “Shelter.” The Village Voice, January 21, 1998.

“The Stars of Today Pick the Stars of Tomorrow.” Art News (March 1997), p. 99.

Studio Potter. Vol. 26, no. 1 (December 1997).

Artist Statement (1998)

My development as an artist has been animated by an impulse to explore the world. In my course of inquiry into the clay cultures of the world, I have mastered various techniques, firing atmospheres, and surfaces. Enriched by this exploration, my work emerges from and exists in a domain of imaginative freedom that is deeply hospitable to diverse influences, concepts, and techniques. The work that has dominated my career is a series of large ceramic pieces known as the Maple Tree Series. These sculptures were inspired by the Maple Tree Abolitionist Movement in the late eighteenth century in New York and Holland. Dutch colonists. Native Americans, and free indentured African servants joined together in protest against slave labor on sugarcane plantations in the West Indies. They took as their symbol the maple tree—a source of sugar without exploiting slave labor. At once trees and aspects of the human body, these sculptures explore links between trees and human sexuality, between trees and human agency.

Biographical Essay

Sana Musasama, an artist who uses the medium of clay to create sculptural and architectural structures, has been exhibiting her work and teaching ceramics since the 1980s. Sana's research into the uses of clay in other countries began in the 1970s with a trip to West Africa and accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s with research trips to China, Japan, Korea, France, Italy, Greece, Thailand, India, Vietnam, and Holland. Her work reflects her incorporation of styles she has encountered in Africa, Asia, and Europe as well as the technical background she was exposed to at Alfred State College of Ceramics, City College of New York, and the Tuscarora International School of Ceramics. Sana is a hand builder who does multiple firing, mostly at low temperature range, uses inlay, underglaze painting, “sgraffito” (pushing fired clay objects into wet clay), and is proficient in crank case oil firing, kiln building, and Raku (a Japanese ceramic technique).

Like many artists, Sana attributes much of her success to a supportive family environment. Her black working-class parents made many sacrifices to enable Sana and her sisters to attend art, piano, violin, dance, and singing lessons. Another family influence was an aunt who worked as a fashion designer after attending the New York Art and Design High School in the 1950s, an unusual school and career choice for black women in the segregated 1950s. In an interview with the author, Sana stated, “My love of my family, community, ancestry, and racial identity has empowered me and made me a survivor. It allows me to travel all over the world fearless and to mingle with all people. It is my well-spring, my reservoir.”

During the 1980s Sana exhibited in solo shows in New York, many at galleries/museums that highlighted African American artists such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Cinque Gallery, also in Manhattan, and the Jamaica Arts Center in Queens, which showcases emerging and mainstream artists from diverse backgrounds. Experimenting with Raku at this time, Sana worked on a series titled Echoes & Excavations that dealt with the bird icon as an important symbol, a metaphor for herself. The series reflected Sana's personal journey in clay during the 1970s and 1980s.

The 1990s have been especially significant for Sana's growth as an artist with solo/group shows in New York, Philadelphia, California, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Norway and write-ups in periodicals like the New York Times, the Village Voice, Art News, Essence, and Black Arts Annual and books such as Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of African-American Women Artists and Voices of Color: Art and Society in the Americas. Most of this notoriety is attributed to the success of Sana's Maple Tree Series, which began in 1991. Constructed of trunklike ceramic structures, usually the height of a person, the series is inspired by Sana's research into the Maple Tree Movement, an effort by the colonial Dutch, free blacks, and Native Americans to protest the importation of sugarcane and its role in the African slave trade, advocating instead the use of maple syrup as an alternative to sugarcane and its enormous toll on human life. The Dutch, free blacks, and Native Americans would march with tree branches, espousing the benefits of maple syrup tapping as opposed to using slaves in the West Indies and the southern United States to harvest sugarcane.

Reinterpreting this history in the form of ceramic sculptures also led to Sana's studying trees and their mythologies and the concept of the maple tree as a female tree, causing gender and environmental issues to surface in her work. For Sana, the trees are a fusion of symbols relevant to Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans, the sugarcane process, and gender issues. These hand-built, heavily textured forms have been made in the United States, Holland, and Mexico, with each piece titled the Maple Tree Series as well as the name of the location where it was created. Over the years the trees have gone through many visual transformations—at times, branches seeming to emerge from a single root; stalks sprouting leaves, flowers, and human hands; ceramic shards and leaves covering the floor like roots; and the mixing of clay with liquid porcelain and beads.

Sana shares her love of ceramics and world travel with students at Hunter College and City College, students with class backgrounds similar to hers who often have to work their way through college. For Sana the ceramic studio functions as a community in which participants are encouraged to take risks, change, and grow in a supportive environment where Sana functions as a guide, exposing them to the richness and diversity of clay and the cultural contexts in which it is used worldwide.

In addition to functioning as an artist and educator, Sana Musasama is a businesswoman with an import/export business involving women basket makers in Vietnam. Working with women artists from other cultures that are involved in small-scale, family-run cottage industries is one way that Sana expresses female solidarity and embraces global feminism, stating, “Feminism provides me with a personal map, a global plan, a past and future. Feminism is love of our female selves.”

In Sana Musasama's art, teaching, international artist residencies, public lectures, and interviews with this author, the essence that permeates her life seems to be an openness to new surroundings, diverse peoples, and divergent sources of knowledge. In her own words, “In all the places I have lived, worked, and traveled, I have arrived open … leave full,… in a constant state of questioning, giving, creating, and reinventing. That is why I make my art.”

O'Grady, Lorraine

Born: 1940, Boston, Massachusetts. Education: B.A., Wellesley College, 1961. M.F.A., Iowa Writers Workshop, University of Iowa, 1967. Bunting Institute, Radcliffe Research and Study Center, Harvard University. Family: Two ex-husbands, one son, and three granddaughters. Career: School of Visual Arts, New York, 1974–present. Senior Fellow, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, New School for Social Reasearch, New York, 1997–present. Awards: Project grant. New York State Council on the Arts, 1982. Fellowship, CAPS, New York State Council on the Arts, 1983. Emerging Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1983. Residency, Millay Colony for the Arts, 1990. Project Grant, Art Matters, Inc., 1990. Residency, Space Program, Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, 1993. Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, 1995. Residency, The MacDowell Colony, 1995. Residency, Yaddo, 1995. Fellowship in Visual Art, Bunting Institute, Radcliffe Research and Study Center, Harvard University, 1995.

Image
Click to see larger image

Flowers of Evil and Good (Study #1) by Lorraine O'Grady, 16-diptych installation, digital cibachrome, 36⅜″ × 28¼″ (ea pan). Courtesy of Lorraine O'Grady

Exhibitions

1996 The Secret History: Work in Progress, The Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1995 Lorraine O'Grady/Matrix 127, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut
1993 Photo Images: 1980–91, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, New York
1991 Critical Interventions: Photomontages, INTAR Gallery, New York, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 Eye of the Beholder: Photographs from the Avon Collection, International Center of Photography, New York, New York; Identity Crisis: Self Portraiture at the End of the Century, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Vraiment: Féminisme et Art, Centre National d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France; The Gaze, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, New York; Composite Persona, Fullerton Museum Center, Fullerton, California, University Art Gallery, San Diego State University, San Diego, California
1996 New Histories, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts; NowHere, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago's Dinner Party in Feminist History, Armand Hammer Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
1995 Laughter Ten Years After, Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut; A Range of Views: New Bunting Fellows in the Visual Arts, The Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Face Forward: Contemporary Self-Portraiture, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
1994 The Body as Measure, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts; Face-Off: The Portrait in Recent Art, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (traveling show); Nor Here Neither There, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California; Outside the Frame: Performance & the Object, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York
1993 Exquisite Corpses, The Drawing Center, New York, New York; Blue-beard: The Exhibition, The Palace Theatre, Stamford, Connecticut; Personal Narratives: Women Photographers of Color, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (traveling show); International Critics' Choice, Mitchell Museum, South-em Illinois University, Cedarhurst, Illinois; Color, DIA Center for the Arts, New York, New York; The Nude: Return to the Source, Westbeth Gallery, New York, New York; Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-PlicitArt by Women, David Zwimer Gallery and Simon Watson/The Contemporary, New York, and Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut; Songs of Retribution, Richard Anderson Gallery, New York, New York
1992 Revealing the Self: Portraits by Twelve Contemporary Artists, Bronx Museum/Paine Webber Art Gallery, New York, New York
1988 Art as a Verb: The Evolving Continuum, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, Met Life Gallery, New York, New York

Permanent Collections

The Avon Collection, New York, New York; The Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Massachusetts; Peter and Eileen Norton, Santa Monica, California; The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut

Publications

Appier, Jacki. “Performance Art Is Dead! Long Live Performance Art.” High Performance 66 (Summer 1994), pp. 54–59.

Aukeman, Anastasia. “Lorraine O'Grady at Thomas Erben.” Art in America (July 1994), pp. 93–94.

Broude, Norma, and Mary Garrard, eds. The Power of Feminist Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994.

Cottingham, Laura. “Lorraine O'Grady: Artist and Art Critic.” Artist and Influence. Vol. 15. New York: Hatch-Billops Collection, Inc., 1996.

Davis, Theo. “Artist as Art Critic: An Interview with Conceptualist Lorraine O'Grady.” Sojourner: The Women's Forum (November 1996), pp. 25–28.

Feldman, Melissa. Face-Off: The Portrait in Recent Art. Philadelphia, Pa.: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1994.

Fusco, Coco. “The Bodies That Were Not Ours: Black Performers, Black Performance.” Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art 5 (Fall 1996), pp. 29–33.

Hess, Elizabeth. “The Women.” Village Voice, November 8, 1994, pp. 91–93.

Isaak, Jo Anna. Feminism and Contemporary Art: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Laughter. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Isaak, Jo Anna. Laughter after Ten Years. New York: Hobart and William Smith College Press, 1995.

Lippard, Lucy. Mixed Blessings. New York: Pantheon, 1990.

Lippard, Lucy. The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on Art. New York: New Press, 1995.

“Lorraine O'Grady” (Biographical artist statement). In Susan Cahan and Zoya Kocur, eds.. Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art and Routledge, 1996.

Meyers, Terry. “ 'NowHere,' Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark.” World Art 4 (1996), pp. 94–95.

Miller-Keller, Andrea. “Lorraine O'Grady: The Space Between.” In Lorraine O'Grady/ Matrix 127. Hartford, Conn.: Wadsworth Atheneum, 1995. Exhbn brochure.

New Histories. Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1996. Exhbn cat.

NowHere. Humlebaek, Denmark: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 1996.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Black Dreams.” Heresies 15 (1982), pp. 42–43.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “The Cave: Lorraine O'Grady on Black Women Film Directors.” Artforum 30, no. 5 (January 1992), pp. 22–24.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Dada Meets Mama: Lorraine O'Grady on WAC.” Artforum 31, no. 2 (October 1992), pp. 11–12.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “A Day at the Races: Lorraine O'Grady on Basquiat and the Black Art World.” Artforum 31, no. 8 (April 1993), pp. 10–12.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Maren Hassinger: Visual Artist.” In Artist and Influence. Vol. 12. New York: Hatch-Billops Collection, Inc., 1993, pp. 21–32.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Mlle Bourgeoise Noire.” High Performance #13 4, no. 2 (Summer 1981), p. 56.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Mlle Bourgeoise Noire Goes to the New Museum.” Heresies 14 (1982), p. 21.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline.” Art Journal (Winter 1998).

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline.” High Performance #17/18 5, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1982), p. 133.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Olympia's Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity.” Afterimage 20, no. 1 (Summer 1992), pp. 14–15.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “Olympia's Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity.” In Joanna Frueh, Cassandra Langer, and Arlene Raven, eds.. New Feminist Criticism: Art/Identity/Action. New York: Icon Editions, HarperCollins, 1994.

O'Grady, Lorraine. “SWM.” Artforum 32, no. 8 (April 1994), pp. 65–66.

Outside the Frame/Performance and the Object: A Survey History of Performance Art in the USA since 1950. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, 1994. Exhbn cat.

Parnes, Laura, and Jan Avgikos. The Gaze. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Momenta Art, 1997. Exhbn cat.

Personal Narratives: Women Photographers of Color. Winston-Salem, N.C.: SECCA, 1995. Exhbn cat.

Powell, Richard J. Black Art in the 20th Century. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Reid, Calvin. “A West Indian Yankee in Queen Nefertiti's Court.” New Observations: COLOR 97 (September-October 1993), pp. 5–9.

Rosoff, Patricia. “Shadow Boxing with the Status Quo: Artist Lorraine O'Grady Refuses to Treat the Art World with Kid Gloves.” Hartford Advocate, June 29, 1995, pp. 21–22.

Rrose Is a Rrose Is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1997. Exhbn cat.

Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago's Dinner Party in Feminist Art History. Los Angeles: Armand Hammer Museum of Art, University of California Press, 1996. Exhbn cat.

Temin, Christine. “ICA Creates 'New Histories' with Global Perspective.” Boston Globe, October 25, 1996, pp. C1, C18.

Unger, Miles. “New Histories.” Flash Art 30, no. 192 (January-February 1997), p. 61.

Vine, Richard. “Report from Denmark, Part I: Louisiana Techno-Rave.” Art in America (October 1996), pp. 40–47.

Wilson, Judith. Lorraine O'Grady: Photomontages. New York: INTAR Gallery, 1991. Exhbn cat.

Artist Statement (1995) 1

Like many cross-cultural artists, I have been drawn to the diptych or multiple image, in which much of the important information occurs in the space between. And like many, I have done performance and installation work where traces of the process are left behind. In my work, “miscegenation,” the pejorative legal word for the mixing of races, functions as a metaphor both for the mixed media I employ and for the difficulties and potentialities of cultural reconciliation.

Note

1. In “Lorraine O'Grady/Matrix 127,” exhibition brochure, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., 1995, p. 9.

Biographical Essay

Having been raised in Boston by Jamaican parents, Lorraine O'Grady, like many children of immigrant parents, has always felt that she is negotiating between worlds. In addition, she is very aware of the effects of race, gender, and class on her life. She came late to art as a career and began as a professional, majoring in economics and working for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of State. She was the only African American at her jobs and experienced tremendous alienation, which led her to search for a method to express who she was. So, at the age of 25, she made a radical shift in her life. She quit her job, took out her retirement fund, and went to Denmark and Norway to write a novel. After completing 50 pages, she was accepted to the Iowa Writer's Workshop. In the early 1970s she became a pop culture and rock critic for the Village Voice and Rolling Stone but later began teaching at the School of Visual Arts, where she was exposed to performance art, body art, and earthworks. At the time the combination of text and image was an important method in conceptual art.

In 1979 O'Grady saw a performance by Eleanor Antin in which she dressed up as a black ballerina. O'Grady realized that she could do a better job of expressing her own experience, and having been aware of the performance work of Adrian Piper, she decided to use this method as well. In 1980 she emerged onto the art scene with her character Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, who would appear, guerrilla-style, at art openings dressed in a gown and cape painstakingly made from 180 pairs of white gloves. She would pass out white chrysanthemums, lash herself with a cat-o'-nine-tails, throw it down, and recite a militant poem with calls to action such as “No more Boot-licking…. No more ass-kissing…. BLACK ART MUST TAKE MORE RISKS!!!” or “Wait in your alternate/ alternate spaces … stay in your place…. THAT'S ENOUGH! … Now is the time for an INVASION!” She first appeared at Just Above Midtown and later at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, as a critique of the internalized repression she saw in black aesthetics as well as the external oppression and exclusion of the mainstream culture. O'Grady considers her work to be “high culture warfare.”

Her following work, Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline (1980), was a formal performance at Just Above Midtown. While this work was also critical, it took a more personal tone. Her older sister Devonia had died suddenly at the age of 38 shortly after O'Grady and her sister had had a reconciliation after years of sibling rivalry. A couple years after Devonia's death, O'Grady had traveled to Egypt and for the first time found mixed-blood people that she felt she looked like. She began to conduct extensive research on the Amarna period of Akhe-naton and Nefertiti. She had always thought her sister looked like Nefertiti, and in this work she explored the family resemblances by combining visuals with storytelling. The piece examined the relationship between sisters by comparing her family relationships to those of Queen Nefertiti, who died at age 37. Included in this performance was a ritual reenacted from the Egyptian book of the dead. Not only was this a way to insure her sister's immortality, but it was a critique of pseudo-African religious practices in the United States. This work also looked at ancient Egypt's African heritage, and at the same time, O'Grady was making comparisons to her own upbringing by status-conscious immigrants. While O'Grady performed this work a number of times, she eventually turned the piece into an installation with 65 sets of images called Miscegenated Family Album.

The use of the diptych is common in O'Grady's work as an expression of her bicultural condition. She is interested also in critiquing the dualism of Western culture where everything is oppositional rather than hybrid. She prefers to think in terms of Both/And rather than Either/Or, and the diptych is an effective method for expressing a negotiation between both sides as well as the integration of the space between. In 1983 she curated The Black and White Show at Ken-keleba Gallery in New York. It displayed work in black and white by 14 African American artists and 14 Euro-American artists but received no critical response. A short time afterward O'Grady, responding to a black poet's assertion that “black people don't relate to avant-garde art,” created a float for the Afro-American Day Parade in Harlem called Art is… in order to prove that unconventional work was relevant to the community.

O'Grady began to feel frustrated and discouraged by the lack of reception to her work, and so she dropped out for five years in order to take care of her mother who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She resumed her work in 1989 but moved away from performance and began working more in photography and installation. Because she felt that people were not often ready to hear her messages, she began to publish writings that would complement her work and create a theoretical context for what she was doing. In many of her pieces, she explores black female self-reclamation and subjectification rather than objectification. After she produced the work The Clearing: Or Cortez and La Malinche, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, N. and Me (1991), she wrote “Olympia's Maid” in order to discuss the predominant absence of the black female nude outside of her own work. She felt that many people were uncomfortable with the theme of the work and her imagery, which presented the sexual and exploitative dimensions of interracial relationships and their by-product— mixed-race children. Another work. Flowers of Evil and Good (1996), deals with the relationship between Baudelaire and his black common-law wife, Jeanne Duval. While Duval has historically been silenced and demonized, O'Grady attempts to introduce her as an equal participant in a complex relationship. In all of her work, O'Grady acts as a cultural critic, challenging her audience to confront difficult and often uncomfortable issues. She is confident of her intellectual prowess and is never afraid of being too demonstrative or cutting-edge.

Pindell, Howardena

Born: 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Education: B.F.A., cum laude, Boston University, 1965. M.F.A., Yale University, 1967. Career: Exhibition assistant, 1967; Curatorial assistant. Department of Prints and Drawings, 1969; Assistant curator. Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, 1971; Associate curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, 1977 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Associate Professor, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1979–1984. Full Professor of Art, 1984-present. Awards: National Endowment for the Arts Painting Fellowship, 1972. U.S./Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artists Fellowship Exchange Program, 1981. National Endowment for the Arts Painting Fellowship, 1983. Boston University Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession, 1983. Ariana Foundation for the Arts, 1984. Guggenheim Fellowship in Painting, 1987. The College Art Association Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work, 1990. The Studio Museum in Harlem Artist Award, 1994. The Joan Mitchell Award, 1994. Women's Caucus for Art Honor Award for Outstanding Achievement, 1996.

Exhibitions

1996 Howardena Pindell, N'Namdi Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, Suffolk Community College, New York
1995 Howardena Pindell, Arting Gallery, Cologne, Germany, N'Namdi Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
1993 Howardena Pindell: A Retrospective, Roland Gibson Gallery, Potsdam College of the State University of New York (traveling show)
1991 Howardena Pindell, N'Namdi Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan, David Heath Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
1989 Howardena Pindell: Autobiography, Cyrus Gallery, New York, New York, Liz Harris Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts; Howardena Pindell/Matrix 105, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut
1987 Howardena Pindell, N'Namdi Gallery, Detroit, Michigan
1986 Howardena Pindell, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Harris/Brown Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts; Howardena Pindell: Odyssey, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
1985 Howardena Pindell, Travelers Memories: India, David Heath Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
1983 Howardena Pindell, Memory Series: Japan, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, New York
1981 Howardena Pindell: Works on Canvas, Lemer-Heller Gallery, New York, New York; Howardena Pindell: Free, White, and 21, Videotape performance, Franklin Furnace, New York, New York
1980 Howardena Pindell: Free, White, and 21, Videotape performance, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, New York, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Howardena Pindell, Lerner-Heller Gallery, New York, New York; Howardena Pindell and Jack Witten, Trenton State College, Trenton, New Jersey

Selected Group Exhibitions

1996 WCA Honor Awards, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Wal- tham, Massachusetts
1995 Language/Text/Imagery: Narratives, Painted Bride, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Western Artists/African Art, Museum for African Art, New York (traveling show); Land, Terrain Gallery, San Francisco, California; Chess, Exit Art, New York, New York; Ancestors, Ken-keleba House Gallery, New York, New York; The Emblem, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
1993 Empowering the Viewer: Art, Politics, and the Community, Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs; The Sporting Life, 1878–1991, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia (traveling show); Artists Respond: The New World Question, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Forms of Abstraction, G. R. N'Namdi Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan, N'Namdi Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
1991 The Search for Freedom: African-American Abstract Painting, Kenkelaba House Gallery, New York, New York (traveling show); Collage: New Applications, Lehman College Art Gallery, New York, New York; Art of Resistance, Galería El Bohio, New York, New York; In King's Image, University of California, San Diego, California, Grove Gallery, La Jolla, California; Gender and Representation, Zoller Gallery, School of Visual Arts, Penn State University, University Park, Philadelphia; Figuring the Body, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
1990 Prophets and Translators, The Chrysler Museum, Richmond, Virginia; American Resources II African American Artists, Delaware Museum, Delaware (traveling show)
1989 Renaissance: Art of Black America, Cheekwood Museum, Nashville, Tennessee; Projects and Portfolios, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Bookworks, Akron Museum, Akron, Ohio; The Cutting Edge, Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, New York; Lines of Vision: Drawings of Contemporary Women, Blum-Hellman Gallery, New York, New York (traveling show); Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio (traveling show); Traditions and Transformations: Contemporary Afro-American Sculpture, Bronx Museum, New York; Art as a Verb, The Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
1988 From the Campus to the Community, African-American Museum, Hempstead, New York; Opening Exhibition, Cyrus Gallery, New York, New York; Alice and Look Who Else Through the Looking Glass, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, New York, New York (traveling show); Turning Point, Art and Politics in 1968, Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, New York (traveling show); Black Women Artists, Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, Massachusetts; Connection Project/Conexus, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, New York
1987 Diamonds Are Forever: Artists and Writers on Baseball, New York State Museum, Albany, New York (traveling show); The Afro-American Artist in the Age of Cultural Pluralism, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey; Black America in Japan: Afro-American Modernism, 1937–87, Terada Warehouse Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Outrageous Women, Ceres Gallery, New York, New York
1986 Television's Impact on Contemporary Art, Queens Museum, New York; Choosing, The College of Fine Arts, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Howardena Pindell and Al Loving, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
1985 Since the Harlem Renaissance, directed by SUNY at Old Westbury, New York (traveling show); American Women in Art: Works on Paper, United Nations International, Women's Conference, Nairobi, Kenya; Generations in Transition: An Exhibition of Changing Perspectives in Recent Art and Art Criticism by Black Americans 1970–84, Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia
1984 American Women Artists, Part II: The Recent Generation, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, New York; East-West, California Museum of Afro-American History and Culture, Los Angeles, California
1983 Modernist Trends, 22 Wooster Gallery, New York, New York
1982 Afro American Abstraction, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California (traveling show)
1981 Stay Tuned, The New Museum, New York, New York
1980 Fire and Water: Paper as Art, Rockland Center for the Arts, West Nyack, New York

Permanent Collections

ARCO, Philadelphia, Philadelphia; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Citibank, New York, New York; The Corcoran Museum, Washington, D.C.; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; IBM, New York, New York; Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark; Maryland Art Institute, Baltimore, Maryland; Metropolitan Museum, New York, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Newark Museum, New Jersey; New Museum of Art, New York, New York; New York Public Library, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Sonja Henie Onstad Foundation, Oslo, Norway; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; Tranegarden Gentofte Kunstbibliotek, Hellerup, Denmark; Udine Museum, Udine, Italy; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Zurich Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland

Publications

Berger, Maurice, Lowery Sims, Tilden LeMelle, Margaret LeMelle, and David Goldberg. Race and Representation. New York: Hunter College Art Gallery, 1987. Exhbn cat.

Coast to Coast. Radford, Va.: Flossie Martin Gallery, Radford University, 1990. Exhbn cat.

The Decade Show. New York: New Museum; Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art; Studio Museum in Harlem, 1990. Exhbn cat.

Failing, Patricia. “A Case of Exclusion.” Art News 88, no. 3 (March 1989), pp. 124–131.

Fonvielle-Bontemps, Jacqueline. Choosing: An Exhibit of Changing Perspectives in Modern Art. Hampton, Va.: Hampton Institute, 1986. Exhbn cat.

Goode-Bryant, Linda, and Marcy S. Philips. Contextures. New York: Just Above Midtown, Inc., 1978.

Howardena Pindell: Paintings and Drawings: A Retrospective Exhibition, 1972–92. Roland Gibson Gallery at Potsdam College, State University of New York. Kansas City, Mo.: Mid-America Arts Alliance, 1992. Exhbn cat.

Howardena Pindell: Traveler's Memories. Birmingham, Ala.: Birmingham Museum of Art, 1985.

Lippard, Lucy. From the Center: Feminist Essays on Women's Art. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1976.

Lippard, Lucy. Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America. New York: Pantheon, 1990.

Lippard, Lucy. Por Encima del Blogrieo. Havana, Cuba: Centro Wifredo Lam. Exhbn cat.

McNeil, Wendy, and Clement Price. The Afro-American Artist in the Age of Cultural Pluralism. Montclair, N.J.: Montclair Art Museum, 1987. Exhbn cat.

Miller, Lynn F., and Sally S. Swenson. Lives and Works: Talks with Women Artists. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1981.

Miyamoto, Michiko, and Makoto Nagasawa. Americans' Point of View about Japanese People. Tokyo: Soshisha Publishing Company, 1982.

Odyssey: Howardena Pindell. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1986. Exhbn cat.

Pindell, Howardena. “Art World Racism: A Documentation.” New Art Examiner 16, no. 7 (March 1989), pp. 32–36.

Pindell, Howardena. Autobiography: In Her Own Image. New York: INTAR Latin American Gallery, 1988. Exhbn cat.

Pindell, Howardena. “Breaking the Silence.” New Art Examiner 18, no. 2 (October 1990), pp. 18–23.

Pindell, Howardena. “Criticism/Or/Between the Lines.” Heresies 2, no. 4 (February 1979), pp. 2–4.

Pindell, Howardena. “From Sea to Shining Sea.” Heresies 6, no. 4 (1989), p. 79.

Pindell, Howardena. “Untitled.” Issue: A Journal for Artists (Spring 1986), p. 42.

Pindell, Howardena. The Writings and Paintings of Howardena Pindell. New York: Mid-march Arts Press, 1996.

Robbins, Corrine. The Pluralist Era: American Art, 1968–1981. New York: HarperCollins, 1984.

Rosen, Randy. Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, 1970–1985. New York: Abbeville Press, 1989.

Rubenstein, Charlotte Streifer. American Women Artists. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982.

Sims, Lowery Stokes. “The Mirror/The Other.” Artforum 28, no. 7 (March 1990), pp. 111–115.

White, Clarence. “Howardena Pindell.” Art Papers (July-August 1991), pp. 34–37.

Wilson, Judith. “Howardena Pindell Makes Art That Winks at You.” Ms. 8, no. 5 (May 1980), pp. 66–70.

Artist Statement 1

The goal of my work is to share knowledge. This is the reason I have also been writing as well as painting, teaching, and giving some public lectures. I do not feel very much part of the art world because of the restrictive environment that is brought to it by people who are pathologically indifferent. I do not see art and life as separate.

Note

1. In “Howardena Pindell: Paintings and Drawings, 1972–92,” exhibition catalogue, Exhibits USA, p. 21.

Biographical Essay

After her third-grade teacher recognized her special talent for art, Howardena Pindell's parents enrolled her in free Saturday morning classes at the Fleischer School. She went on to major in art in college and graduate school but felt very isolated because she was one of only a few African American students and was constantly aware of being treated differently. After school Pindell had trouble finding a job teaching but lucked into a position at the Museum of Modern Art as an exhibition assistant in the Department of National and International Circulating Exhibitions. In 1969 she became Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Prints and Drawings, in 1971, Assistant Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, and in 1977, Associate Curator in the same department. She left the Museum in 1979 to become Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she is currently a Full Professor.

Pindell was trained as a figurative painter, but when she moved to New York and started working, she could no longer paint during the day. Without access to daylight she began to experiment with color and light, which led to her abstract dot and grid work of the 1970s. By punching holes, she made stencils or templates that she could use to spray paint through. The punched holes accumulated, and she ended up with bags and bags of tiny dots. Since she was fascinated with numbers, she began to number some of the dots and remembered from her childhood that her father had worked with numbers and that he used to keep track of mileage on road trips. She equated numbers with distance, size, mass, quantity, and identification but ultimately used them in grids as a visual concern and not as a conceptual tool. The unnumbered dot works became studies in accumulation of color, space, and surface texture. The effects were very sculptural, and the body of work explored contrasts such as planned or accidental and confinement or overflow. But underneath the seemingly random surfaces was always the grid that reflected her thoughts about a technological society. As Pindell began to move away from rigid forms, she started to introduce sewing into her canvases, thereby lending a different form of physicality and geometry. Her work from this early period was a form of meditation for Pindell and a way of escaping and dealing with the rage and frustration she felt as a result of racism, sexism, and discrimination.

Since abstraction was not considered a valid form of expression for African American artists at this time, Pindell turned to the women's movement and helped found a collective called A.I.R. Gallery. As the only black woman in this organization, Pindell began to feel like a token and further felt that issues specific to her existence as an African American woman artist were not being addressed. By the late 1970s Pindell became more involved in political activism. The main instigator was a show at Artist's Space in 1979 called Nigger Drawings. This show outraged the black community, and a protest ensued. Pindell began to feel tensions at work, and because of this and her frustration that she was still powerless to help other African American and women artists, she decided to leave.

In 1980 Pindell made the work Free, White, and 21, a video that was inspired by her experience with the women's movement. With the camera pointed directly at her, Pindell recounts incidents of prejudice in her own life. She plays herself as well as a white character who tells her she must be paranoid. It is a particularly personal piece that testifies to her own experience while exposing racism in the art world. It signified a turning point in Pindell's work because she was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of explicit political imagery in her work. In addition, memory plays a big part after this point because Pindell was in a serious car accident in 1979, from which she experienced memory loss. As an exercise, she began to use postcards and photographs from her extensive travels in order to recreate her impressions of different places. Each new country profoundly influenced the style and content of her work.

In 1982 Pindell traveled to Japan on a U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artist Grant. She was there for eight months, and the body of work that emerged from her experience was more circular and organic in shape than earlier work. She was inspired by Mount Fuji and by the Zen gardens as well as by a visit to the Peace Museum. In 1984 she traveled to India on a National Endowment for the Arts Painting Fellowship. Her work became more sinuous and S-shaped like coiled snakes or flowing rivers. She was inspired by the meditative quality of India's cultures and the spirituality of the religions. The series of works that came out of these experiences were like travelogues or personal narratives. Not all of her experiences were positive, however. She found Japan to be quite rigid and very rascist, and in India there was so much poverty and suffering.

The series of work that came out of the late 1980s was much more about autobiography, and Pindell often used her own image. This series brought together a number of key personal and aesthetic issues in her work. Some of the issues she wanted to address were definition of self, miscegenation, mixed heritage, appearance, images of people of color in the media, omission and appropriation, criticism, and stereotyping. The Autobiography series is made up of two types of work. One type is unstretched canvas; the other is photocollage, but they are often mixed together. Both styles reflect Pindell's interest in discovering things under intense scrutiny that blend into a whole when viewed from far away. Her large-scale work, when viewed up close, is filled with intricate and obsessive details. While many works emerge out of her own personal experiences, they also reflect public concerns. In the work Autobiography: Water/Ancestors/Middle Passage/Family Ghosts (1988) Pindell uses a silhouette of her own body, cut out of the canvas and sewn back in, as the central image while surrounding it are symbols of her multicultural heritage, African American experience, and a narrative about unspoken histories. This body of work represents both rupture and healing, and Pindell continues to work in this mode, combining aesthetics with politics and testimony. While Pindell continues to create work, she perseveres in exposing racism in the art world through her persistent research.

Piper, Adrian Margaret Smith

Born: 1948, New York City, New York. Education: A.A. School of Visual Arts, New York, 1969. B.A., City College of New York, 1974, M.A., 1977, and Ph.D., Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1981. Advanced studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Family: Parents are deceased. She is divorced and has no children. Career: Professor of Philosophy, Wellesley College. Non-Resident Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. Has taught at Harvard, Stanford, University of Michigan, University of California at San Diego, and Georgetown University. Awards: Visual Artists Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1979. Visual Artists Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1982. Art Matters, Inc., 1987. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1989. New York State Council on the Arts, 1989. Awards in the Visual Arts, 1990.

Selected Exhibitions

1994 The Hypothesis Series 1968–70, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, New York
1992 Ur-Madonna, Expo '92, Monasterio de Santa Clara, Moguer (Huelva), Spain; Decide Who You Are, Grey Art Gallery, John Weber Gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, New York
1991 What It's Like, What It Is, #2, Hirshhorn Museum, Directions Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Adrian Piper: European Retrospective, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England (traveling show); Space, Time, and Reference 1967–1970, John Weber Gallery, New York, New York
1990 Pretend, John Weber Gallery, New York, New York; Out of the Corner, Whitney Museum of American Art, Film and Video Gallery, New York, New York
1989 Cornered, John Weber Gallery, New York, New York
1987 Adrian Piper: Reflections, 1967–1987, The Alternative Museum, New York, New York (traveling show)
1980 Adrian Piper at Matrix 56, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; Adrian Piper, Real Artways, Hartford, Connecticut
1976 Adrian Piper, Gallery One, Montclair State College, Montclair, New Jersey
1969 Three Untitled Projects, postal art exhibition. New York, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1996 NowHere, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Devant VHistoire, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
1995 Public/Private: ARS 95, Museum of Contemporary Art, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Finland; Africus: South Africa Bienniale, Johannesburg, South Africa; Reconsidering the Object of Art: 1965–1975, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
1994 L'Hiver de VAmour, Musee d'Art Moderne de Ville de Paris, France; Mappings, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Ge-walt/Geschdfte, Neue Gesellschaft fiir bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin, Germany
1993 The Boundary Rider: 9th Biennale of Sydney, Gallery of New South Wales, Australia; Kontext Kunst, Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria
1992 Dream Singers, Story Tellers: An African American Presence, Fukyui Fine Arts Museum, Fukyui-ken, Japan
1991 What It's Like, What It Is, #3, Dislocations, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
1989 UArt Conceptuel: Une Perspective, Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris, France (traveling show)
1985 Kunst mit Eigen-Sinn, Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, Austria
1977 Paris Biennale, Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris, France
1975 Bodyworks, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois
1971 Paris Biennale, Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris, France
1970 Conceptual Art and Conceptual Aspects, New York Cultural Center, New York, New York; Information, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
1969 Number Seven, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, New York; Language III, Dwan Gallery, New York, New York; Concept Art, Stad-isches Museum, Leverkusden, West Germany; Plans and Projects as Art, Kunsthalle, Bem, Switzerland

Permanent Collections

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; University of California at Berkeley Art Museum; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; Wexner Center of Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Publications

Appiah, Anthony. “Art Beat.” Village Voice Supplement (October 1992), p. 12.

Baldauf, Anette. “Rassismus und Fremdenangst: Gesprach mit der Konzeptkunstlerin und Philosophin Adrian Piper.” Wiener Zeitung Kulturmagazin, 1993, p. 16.

Barrow, Claudia. “Adrian Piper: Space, Time, and Reference 1967–1970.” In Adrian Piper. Birmingham, England: Ikon Gallery, 1991. Exhbn cat.

Berger, Maurice. “The Critique of Pure Racism: An Interview with Adrian Piper.” Afterimage 18, no. 3 (October 1990), pp. 5–9.

Blase, Christophe. “Sezierte Angst—Fine politische Kunstlerin: Adrian Piper in Munchen.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 3, 1992.

Brenson, Michael. “Adrian Piper's Head-on Confrontation of Racism.” New York Times, October 26, 1990, p. C36.

Cottingham, Laura. “Adrian Piper.” Journal of Contemporary Art 5, no. 1 (Spring 1992), pp. 88–136.

Hayt-Atkins, Elizabeth. “The Indexical Present: A Conversation with Adrian Piper.” Arts Magazine (March 1991), pp. 48–51.

Johnson, Ken. “The Artist as Intellectual Warrior.” Art in America 85, no. 1 (January 1997), pp. 29–30.

Johnson, Ken. “Being and Politics.” Art in America 78, no. 9 (September 1990), pp. 154–161.

Lewis, Jo Ann. “Images That Get under the Skin.” Washington Post, June 27, 1991, pp. Gl, G5-G6.

McWilliams, Martha. “Gallery Panel Discussion.” Washington City Paper, February 19, 1993, p. 44.

Perree, Rob. “Adrian Piper: Plaatst de waarheid boven de schoonheid.” Kunst Beeld Nr. 11 15 (November 1991), pp. 32–34.

Piper, Adrian. Colored People. London: Bookworks, 1991.

Piper, Adrian. Decide Who You Are. New York: Paula Cooper Gallery, 1992.

Piper, Adrian. Here and Now. Independently published by the artist, 1968.

Piper, Adrian. Out of Order, Out of Sight. Vol. 1, Selected Writings on Meta-Art 1968–1992. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996.

Piper, Adrian. Out of Order, Out of Sight. Vol. 2, Selected Writings in Art Criticism 1967–1992. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996.

Piper, Adrian. Talking to Myself: The Ongoing Autobiography of an Art Object. Brussels, Belgium: Femand Spillemaeckers, 1974.

Quatman, Christian. “Mittlerin zwischen Mainstream und Marginalitat.” Kunstforum International 118 pp. 221; 229–232.

Raven, Arlene. “Civil Disobedience.” Village Voice, September 25, 1990, Arts Section, cover, pp. 55, 94.

Thompson, Mildred. “Interview: Adrian Piper.” Art Papers 12, no. 2 (March-April 1988), pp. 27–30.

Van Tuyl, Laura. “Artist Adrian Piper Mounts Urgent Challenge to Racism in Society.” Christian Science Monitor, July 19, 1991, p. 10.

Weil, Benjamin. “Interview with Adrian Piper.” Purple Prose 3 (Paris: Summer 1993), pp. 74–79.

Wilson, Judith. “In Memory of the News and of Ourselves: The Art of Adrian Piper.” Third Text 16–17 (Autumn-Winter 1991), pp. 39–62.

Artist Statement 1

Blacks like me are unwilling observers of the forms racism takes when racists believe there are no blacks present. Sometimes what we observe hurts so much we want to disappear, disembody, disinherit ourselves from our blackness. Our experiences in this society manifest themselves in neuroses, demoralization, anger, and in art.

Note

1. In Lucy R. Lippard, Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America (New York: Pantheon Books, 1990), p. 43.

Biographical Essay

As both philosopher and artist, Adrian Piper deftly combines politics, art, and theory. Working in a variety of mediums including performance and video, she has confronted issues surrounding racism, stereotyping, xenophobia, and race relations throughout the span of her career. Her education has encompassed degrees both in Fine Arts and in Philosophy, and the written and spoken word are particularly important to her work. The daughter of a secretary at City College and a real estate lawyer, she grew up in Harlem where her light skin made her a target for taunting and nicknames such as “paleface.” She attended the New Lincoln School on scholarship, which made her feel distinctly separate from the children in her own community. At the same time, she was exposed to racism at this private white school and therefore felt a keen sense of difference and alienation. When she was a teenager she took classes at the Art Students League, and when she entered the School of Visual Arts, she was very committed to art.

While Piper had been making figurative, mildly surrealist work since grade school, in her second year at the School of Visual Arts she was exposed to a wide variety of contemporary art. She was particularly influenced by Sol LeWitt and his ideas about Conceptual art. Piper explains that this and the political activism of the art world in the 1970s really had an impact on her life and work. It is important to note that simultaneous to her art making is her extensive writing, which clarifies and explains what she is doing. She initiated this practice in part because she felt at a loss to define any of her work by the aesthetic principles that she had been taught. Her first major work was a series of street performances called Catalysis (1970). In these pieces, she altered her physical appearance and demonstrated antisocial behavior in order to explore gender and body issues and to examine the roots of prejudice and bias. For example, she appeared in public in clothes that smelled or were sticky with white paint, or she attached balloons to her ears, nose, teeth, and hair, or she concealed a tape recorder on her body that played loud belching noises at five-minute intervals. During each performance, she would study people's reactions.

In 1974 Piper developed a male alter ego called the Mythic Being. Playing a black or Latino street kid, she would appear on the street and swagger, stride, or lope accordingly. This work developed into posters and ads where the visual image of the Mythic Being appeared monthly in the Village Voice gallery page with a cartoonlike thought balloon containing statements statement such as “I embody everything you most hate and fear.” She continued to combine text and image in her Political Self Portraits (1978–1980) in which she superimposed an image of herself with text relating to a personal experience. In 1981 she made the work Exaggerating My Negroid Features, and in 1983 she started conducting lecture demonstrations called Funk Lessons. Not only did she want to challenge the preconceived notion that all African Americans have rhythm, but she wanted to confront white cultural discomfort with black popular music and its African sources. Around this time she was also conducting guerrilla performances in social settings where she heard racist comments that were made in her presence by someone who did not know she was black. As an unwilling observer of racism, she developed My Calling (Card) #1 (for Dinners and Cocktail Parties) (April 1986–1990) and My Calling (Card) #2 (for Bars and Discos) (June 1986–1990). If she heard a remark or experienced unwanted attention, she would hand the offender one of the cards that read either “Dear Friend, I am black. I am sure you did not realize this when you made/laughed at/agreed with that racist remark…” or “Dear Friend, I am not here to pick anyone up…. Thank you for respecting my privacy.” In this way she forced people to confront their racism and sexism and to accept their own responsibility to do something about it.

Piper's later work is more image and text based and less performative. She began to use more advertisements, video, and photographs. In her Vanilla Nightmare Series (1986–1990) she took pages from the New York Times with loaded imagery or text and drew on them with charcoal or oil crayon. The images she added relate to the deep fears, anxieties, and fantasies about African Americans that exist deep down in a racist society. The black figures are animalistic, lascivious, violent, and forceful as they surround the white models in advertisements or crowd out logos. The images confront fears about sexuality, miscegenation, and loss of self through invasion by the “other.” In her video installation Cornered (1988), Piper speaks directly to a white audience about the intermingling of white and black blood that has occurred for 400 years in this country. She reasons with her audience, in the tone of a teacher talking to her students, that many white Americans have some black blood in their lineage. As a conceptual artist. Piper uses her experiences of marginalization and alienation to re-form herself in constructive ways as a form of self-defense. She is interested in pursuing a society of tolerance, empathy, and acceptance, free of racism and racial stereotyping. She does not consider her work to be directly autobiographical but rather uses her personal experiences to comment upon what she sees as the social diseases of racism and xenophobia. She uses art as a tool for consciousness raising, provocation, confrontation, and profound thought about deep-seated racist attitudes. She prefers to work on a personal level with her audience in order to promote their self-awareness and to influence political change by reflection upon their own racism or experience of racism. She rehes on inmiediacy and the direct relationship to the viewer's own experiences in life to get people to reflect upon their own reality and to accept accountability rather than to express doubt at their own complicity in racism. Conceptual art not only allows her to present the priority of the message over the aesthetics of the image, but it offers her great flexibihty of medium so that she can choose the appropriate method for the missive, whether drawing, audiotape, performance, text, video, installation, film, or choreography.

Ringgold, Faith

Born: 1930, Harlem, New York. Education: B.S., Fine Art, City College of New York, 1955. M.A., Art, City College of New York, 1959. Family: Daughter of Willi Posey Jones, a fashion designer. Mother of Michele Wallace, a cultural arts critic, and Barbara Wallace, a linguist. Career: New York City Public School art teacher, 1955–1973. Part-time instructor at Bank Street College, Pratt Institute, and Wagner College, 1970. Visiting Associate Professor at University of California, San Diego, 1984. Appointed tenured Full Professor in Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego, 1985. Awards: American Association of University Women Travel Award to Africa, 1976. National Endowment for the Arts, 1978. MacDowell Colony Grant, 1982. Award for Sculpture, 1982. Wonder Woman Award from Warner Communications, 1983. CAPS Grant from New York State Council of the Arts, 1984. Honorary Doctorate from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1986. Candace Award from One Hundred Black Women, 1986. Guggenheim Fellowship, 1987. Public Art Fund from the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, 1987. Honorary Doctorate from the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio, 1987. New York Foundation for the Arts Award for Painting, 1988. LaNapoule Artist Residency in France, 1988. Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Award, 1988. Honorary Doctorate from City College of New York, 1988. Henry Clews Foundation Award for painting in the South of France, 1990. New York Times Children's Book Award, 1992. Caldecott Honor for the best illustrated children's book of 1991, 1992. Coretta Scott King Award for the best illustrated book by an African American, 1992. Metropolitan Transit Authority Mural Commission, 1992. National Endowment for the Arts Travel Award, 1993. Honorary Doctorate from the California College of Arts and Crafts, 1993. Honorary Doctorate from Rhode Island School of Design, 1994. Townshend Harris Medal from the City College of New York Alumni Association, 1995. Honorary Doctorate from Russell Sage College, 1996. Honorary Doctorate from Wheelock College in Boston, 1997. Honorary Doctorate from Molloy College in New York, 1997. New Jersey Artist of the Year from the New Jersey Center for the Arts, 1997.

Selected Exhibitions

1998 Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts, Berkeley Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
1996 Faith Ringgold: Story Quilts, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
1995 Faith Ringgold: Masks and Dolls, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania; Faith Ringgold: Paintings and Drawings Spanning Four Decades, ACA Galleries, New York, New York; Children's Stories by Faith Ringgold, Athenaum: Music and Arts Library, LaJolla, California
1994 Currents 57: Faith Ringgold, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri; Dinner at Aunt Connie's House and Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, Hewlett, New York
1993 Tar Beach, Children's Museum of Manhattan, New York, New York; Inspirations: Exploring the Art of Faith Ringgold, Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.
1990 Faith Ringgold: A Twenty-five Year Survey, Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, Hempstead, New York (traveling exhibit)
1987 Faith Ringgold: Painting, Sculpture, Performance, College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, Ohio
1984 Faith Ringgold: Twenty Years of Painting, Sculpture and Performance (1963–1983), Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
1977 Festac 77, Lagos, Nigeria, Africa
1973 Ten Year Retrospective, Voorhees Gallery at Rutgers University, New Jersey
1970 America Black, Spectrum Gallery, New York, New York
1967 Spectrum Gallery, New York, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 American and European Painting and Sculpture and Contemporary Art, ACA Galleries, New York, New York; Community of Creativity: A Century of MacDowell Colony Artists, National Academy Museum, New York, New York (traveling exhibition); Threads: Fiber Art in the 90's. New Jersey Center for the Arts, Summit, New Jersey; Face a VHistoire, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
1996 Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Artists, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Heralding the 21st Century: Contemporary African American Women Artists, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia; The Oklahoma City Children's Memorial Art Quilts, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Labor of Love, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, New York; Quilts and Oral Traditions in Black Culture, Museum for Textiles, Toronto, Canada; Art, Design and Barbie: The Evolution of a Cultural Icon, World Financial Center, New York, New York (traveling exhibition)
1995–1996 “Rainbow” Bob Blackburn's Printmaking Workshop Exhibition, Lagos, Nigeria (traveling exhibit)
1995 Artists on Artists, Gallery Swan, New York, New York; The Reconstructed Figure: The Human Image in Contemporary Art, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York; Women's Work, White House, Washington, D.C.; Illustrations from Caldecott Books, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; UCSD Faculty Exhibition, UCSD University Art Gallery, San Diego, California; Ancestors, Asian American Arts Center, New York, New York; 10 × 10: Ten Women, Ten Prints, a Portfolio of Silkscreen Prints, Berkeley Arts Center, Berkeley, California; Division of Labor “Women's Work” in Contemporary Art, Bronx Museum, Bronx, New York; Fashion Is a Verb, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York; (In) Forming the Visual: (Re) Presenting Women of African Descent, Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, Pomona, California; Cocido y Crudo, Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
1994 Strategies of Narration: The Fifth International Cairo Biennial 1994, Aknaton Gallery, Cairo, Egypt; The Impact of Slavery: “It's More Than Just Another Art Show," Firehouse Art Gallery, Garden City, New York; Girls and Girlhood: A Perilous Path, UNICEF, United Nations, New York, New York (traveling exhibit); Odun de- Odeun de-, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California; Political Imagery from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's and 1970's: Black Power: Black Art… and the Struggle Continues, San Francisco State University Art Department Gallery, San Francisco, California; Old Glory: The American Flag in Contemporary Art, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio; Women's Caucus for the Arts Honor Awards, Queens Museum of Fine Art, Flushing, New York
1993 Interior Vision: The Illustrator's Eye, Cinque Gallery, New York, New York; The Definitive Contemporary American Quilt, Southern Ohio Museum, Portsmouth, Ohio; New Developments in American Fiber Art: USA Today, Museum of the Applied Arts, Helsinki, Fin land; USA Today: In Fiber Art, Netherlands Textile Museum, Til- burg, Netherlands; Reflections of a King, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee; Fiber Art, National Institute of Art and Disabilities, Richmond, California
1992 Dream Singers: Story Tellers: An African American Presence, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey (traveling exhibit); Ancestors Known and Unknown: Boxworks by Coast to Coast National Women Artists of Color, Women and Their Work Center, Austin, Texas (traveling exhibit)
1988 Through a Master Printer: Robert Blackburn and the Printmaking Workshop, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina; 1938–1988: The Work of Five Black Women Artists, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, Georgia
1968 Martin Luther King Jr. Benefit, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

Selected Films and Videos

1995 Faith Ringgold Paints Crown Heights, color video, sound, 28 min., distributed by Home Visions, Las Video Enterprises, Chappaqua, New York
1994 Tar Beach with Faith Ringgold, color video, sound, 15 min., distributed by Scholastic, New York
1991 Portrait of an Artist: Faith Ringgold: The Last Story Quilt, color video, sound, 28 min., distributed by Home Visions, Las Video Enterprises, Chappaqua, New York
1990 Faith Ringgold, color video, sound, 6 min., distributed by Random House, New York
1983 No Name Masked Performance #2, color film, sound, 16 mm, distributed by San Antonio College, Texas
1975 Sexual Imagery and Censorship, color film, sound, 16mm, distributed by Art Documentation, Queens College Library, New York; Faith Ringgold, black and white film, sound, 16mm, distributed by Women's Archive, Women's Institute Center, New York
1970, 1974 Black Artists in America, Part III, color film, sound, 16mm, and Black Artists in America, Part IV, color film, sound, 16mm, produced and directed by Oakley Holmes, Jr.

Selected Collections

ACA Galleries, New York, New York; David Rockefeller/Chase Manhattan Bank Art Collection, New York, New York; Guggenheim, Museum, New York, New York; The High Museum of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Phillip Morris Co., North Carolina; St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

Selected Publications

Baraka, Amiri. “Faith.” Black American Literature Forum (Spring 1985) p. 12.

Bontemps, Arna Alexander, ed. Forever Free: Art by African-American Women 1862–1980. Normal, Ill.: Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois State University, 1980.

Broude, Norma, and Mary Garrard, eds. The Power of Feminist Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994.

Cameron, Dan, ed. Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998.

Damsker, Matt. “Performance Art Creates a Tableau.” Los Angeles Times, February, 1984.

Davis, Maríanna W. Contributions of Black Women to America: The Arts. Columbia, S.C.: Kenday Press, 1982.

Faith Ringgold: A Twenty-five Year Survey. Hempstead, N.Y.: Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, 1990. Exhbn cat.

Faith Ringgold, Change: Painted Story Quilts. New York: Benice Steinbaum Gallery, 1987. Exhbn cat.

Fax, Elton C. Seventeen Black Artists. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1971.

Fine, Elsa Honig. Afro-American Artist. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.

Glueck, Grace. “An Artist Who Turns Cloth into Social Commentary.” New York Times, July 29, 1984.

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1993.

King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists. New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1995.

Lewis, Samella. African-American Art and Artists. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, 1990.

Miller, Lynn, and Sally Swenson. Lives and Works: Talks with Women Artists. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

Munro, Eleanor. Originals: American Women Artists. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

Powell, Richard J. Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Ringgold, Faith. “An Open Show in Every Museum.” Feminist Art Journal (April 1972), p. 10.

Ringgold, Faith. Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. New York: Crown, 1992.

Ringgold, Faith. “Being My Own Woman.” In Amiri and Amina Baraka, compilers, Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women. New York: William Morrow, 1983.

Ringgold, Faith. Dinner at Aunt Connie's House. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1993.

Ringgold, Faith. Faith Ringgold's Talking Book. New York: Crown Books for Young Readers, 1995.

Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. New York: Crown, 1991.

Ringgold, Faith. We Flew over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995.

Roth, Moira, Thalia Gouma-Peterson, Alice Walker, and Faith Ringgold. Change: Painted Story Quilts. New York: Benice Steinbaum Gallery, 1987.

Sims, Lowery. “Aspects of Performance in the Works of Black American Women Artists.” In Arlene Raven, Cassandra Langer, and Joanna Frueh, eds., Feminist Art Criticism. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1988. pp. 207–225.

Sims, Lowery S. “Black Women Artists.” Art Forum (April 1973), p. 68.

Tesfagiorgis, Freida High W. “Afrofemcentrism and Its Fruition in the Art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith Ringgold.” SAGE 4, no. 1 (Spring 1987), pp. 25–32.

Trescott, Jacqueline. “Black Artists: Role and Responsibility.” Washington Post, March 12, 1975.

Unseld, Teresa. S. Portfolios: African-American Artists. Palo Alto, Calif.: Dale Seymore, 1994.

Wallace, Michele. “And What Happened …” Esquire, May 1976, pp. 80–81.

Wallace, Michele. “Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman.” Ms., January 1979, pp. 45–91.

Wallace, Michele, Moira Roth, and Faith Ringgold. The French Collection, Part I. New York: Being My Own Woman Press, 1992.

Wallace, Michele, and Lowery Sims, eds. Faith Ringgold: Twenty Years of Painting, Sculpture and Performance (1963–1983). New York: Studio Museum in Harlem, 1984. Exhbn cat.

Witzling, Mara R., ed. Voicing Our Visions. New York: Universe, 1991.

Artist Statement (1991) 1

Should I paint some of the great and tragic issues of our world? A black man toting a heavy load that has pinned him to the ground? Or a black woman nursing the world's population of children? Or the two of them together as slaves, building a beautiful world for others to live free? Non! I want to paint something that will inspire—liberate. I want to do some of the WOMEN ART. Magnifique!

Note

1. Faith Ringgold, We Flew over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold (Boston: Little, Brown, 1995), p. 124.

Biographical Essay

Faith Ringgold, visual artist, writer, feminist, political activist, educator, and performance artist, is truly a “Renaissance Woman.” In her career, which spans more than a quarter of a century, Ringgold has reached an international audience that includes adults and children, men and women, all races and all classes. Creator of over 85 story quilts, author and illustrator of children's books, recipient of nine honorary doctorates to date, winner of numerous prestigious awards such as National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants and Guggenheim Fellowships, and champion of civil rights and women's liberation, one must ask, Where does she get her energy? Does this woman ever sleep?

Growing up in Harlem in a family where her father was able to support them during the economic crisis of the depression and where her mother eventually achieved financial independence as a dressmaker and fashion designer, Ringgold knew early on that being a working woman was not a lifestyle option but a survival necessity. Heavily influenced by the colors, flair, drama, and style of her mother's fashion shows and model/photographer/entertainer associates, Ringgold caught the creativity bug and pursued degrees in art at City College, eventually becoming an art teacher in the New York public school system and a struggling artist.

Frustrated with the Eurocentric art education she received at City College, where painting professors could not teach her how to mix colors for dark skin tones, Ringgold embarked on her own search for black aesthetics by reading the literature of Amiri Baraka (Le Roi Jones) and James Baldwin and the aesthetic philosophy of Alain Locke, studying African art, and embracing the 1960s concept of “Black is Beautiful.” Ringgold's newfound consciousness inspired the creation of works like The Flag Is Bleeding, U.S. Postage Stamp Commemorating the Advent of Black Power, and Die. Like many other black artists of that era, such as Cliff José ph and Benny Andr é ws, Ringgold was active in the movement to bring art to the prisons. Her 1971–1972 mural at the Women's House of Detention at Rikers Island in New York City depicted women of all races engaged in constructive work that challenged gender stereotypes. Ringgold's commitment to women's issues, especially black women's increased, leading to the creation of African-inspired portrait masks constructed of beads, fabric, and embroidery with opened mouths to represent black women speaking out. The 1970s also saw Ringgold in the center of protests against the art establishment's racism/sexism at marches in front of the Whitney Museum of American Art, protests against the so-called alternative anti-Venice Biennial exhibit in which no black or women artists were represented, her joining the Ad Hoc Committee on Women Artists and Students for Black Liberation, involvement in activities that led to the New York Museum of Modern Art's hiring two black members to their board of trustees and staging two major African American exhibits, and her cofounding, with Kay Brown and Dinga McGannon, the black women artist group “Where We At.” Ringgold's political and art activism reached new heights in 1972 with her participation in the American Women Artists Show in Hamburg, Germany—the beginning of much deserved recognition and critical analysis.

Ringgold's art has provided an impetus and catalyst for black women art critics/historians such as Lowery S. Sims, Judith Wilson, Ringgold's daughter Michele Wallace, and Freida High Tesfagiorgis. In 1984, Tesfagiorgis introduced the concept “Afrofemcentrism” to “designate an Afro-female centered worldview and its artistic manifestation,”1 which was initially applied to Ringgold's art and ideology and later embraced other black women artists such as Elizabeth Catlett. “Afrofemcentrism” described Ringgold's imagery and other like-minded artists as projecting the black woman as subject as opposed to object, active rather than passive, and embracing an African-derived aesthetic that includes both realism and abstraction in its color, texture, and rhythms.2

For Tesfagiorgis, Ringgold's adaptation of mixed-media soft sculpture into her art repertoire and its reliance on sewing/embroidery (traditionally women's occupations) is an affirmation of women's creativity. Ringgold's portrait masks and soft sculptures initiated a new phase in her art career—performance art— in which Ringgold created stories and characters that voiced the black American experience from a woman's perspective. One of the most famous installation/ performance pieces from the mid-1970s was The Wake and Resurrection of the Bicentennial Negro, which combined storytelling, performance art, and visual art, setting a “precedent and model for the tone and themes of Ringgold's subsequent story quilts.”3

Ringgold's incorporation of quilting was inspired by her fashion designer mother, Willi Posey, with whom she collaborated on many fiber projects, and the African American quilt-making tradition that has origins in the rural South. Other fiber influences were the Tibetan cloth paintings, Tankas, whose cloth borders/frames made storage/transportation easier. The quilts Who's Afraid of Aunt Jemima and Slave Rape Story Quilt include written narratives about black women's lives. Change: Faith Ringgold's Over 100 Pounds Weight Loss Performance Story Quilt (1986, photoetching on silk, 57″ × 70″ ), incorporating performance and video, is Faith's own story and also the story of all women's lives affected by imposed standards of physical “beauty.”

The 1988 story quilt Tar Beach evolved into a children's book about an eight-year-old Harlem heroine whose power of flight involves fantasies of solving family problems like denial of union membership for her Afro-Indian construction-worker father. Tar Beach and other Ringgold written/illustrated books like Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky, Dinner at Aunt Connie's House, My Dream of Martin Luther King, and Bonjour, Lonnie have won numerous awards for their themes on African American history and race relations.

Ringgold's French Collection and American Collection pointed quilt series (1991–1997) move “back and forth in time, from past to future, from fact to fiction, in order to redress history, both political and artistic, and to create a more prominent place in this new history for African-American women.”4 With narrative titles such as Picnic at Givemy (1991), Dinner at Gertrude Stein's (1991), Le Café des Artistes (1994), and Bessie's Blues (1997), Ringgold's alter ego Willia Marie Simone interacts with historical figures such as Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Archibold Motley, and Edmonia Lesis. Also in the 1990s, Marlon Riggs: Tongues Untied, a quilt commemorating the life and career of the black gay filmmaker who died of AIDS, is a further testimony of Ringgold's lifelong commitment to social/political issues. Proceeds from the quilt benefit AIDS research and care.

Perhaps the best way to summarize Ringgold's contributions to the art world and to life in general is to emphasize her democracy in the true sense of what democracy is supposed to entail. A Ringgold work of art appeals to a wide audience, disregards the dominant culture's dichotomies between art and crafts, embraces postmodern discourse without rejecting modernism, blurs fact and fiction in narratives based on herstory and history, embraces both feminism and black nationalism, is accessible to a less affluent population through affordable children's books and posters, and finally, connects black art and culture to the United States, Europe, and Africa, making it a significant player in the global art arena.

Notes

1. Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis, “Afrofemcentrism and Its Fruition in the Art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith Ringgold,” SAGE 4, no. 1 (Spring 1987), pp. 25–32.
2. Ibid.
3. Thalis Gouma-Peterson, “Faith Ringgold's Journey,” in Dan Cameron, ed., Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), p. 45.
4. Moira Roth, “Of Cotton and Sunflower Fields: The Makings of the French and the American Collection,” in Cameron, Dancing at the Louvre, p. 59.

Saar, Alison

Born: 1956, Los Angeles, California. Education: B.A., Scripps College, Claremont, California, 1978. M.F.A., Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1981. Family: Her mother Betye Saar, father Richard, and older sister Lezley are all artists. She is married to Tom Lesser, a filmmaker, and has two children, son Kyle and daughter Maddy. Career: Assistant to her father, a conservator and art restorer, for eleven years through graduate school and beginning in high school. Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, 1984. Artist-in-Residence at Roswell Museum, New Mexico, 1985. Artist-in-Residence at Washington Project for the Arts, 1986. Taught at School of the Visual Arts, 1991–1994. Taught at Banff Art Center, the State University of New York at Purchase, and Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Awards: Sculpture Installation, Art on the Beach, Creative Time, New York, 1984. Artist-in-Residence, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 1984. Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1984. Sculpture Installation, Artpark, Niagara Falls, New York, 1985. Artist-in-Residence, Roswell Museum of Art, New Mexico, 1985. Engelhard Award, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 1985. Artist-in-Residence, Washington Project for the Arts, 1986. Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1988. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1989.

Exhibitions

1997 Alison Saar, List Gallery, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, Missouri, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Alison Saar: Hairesies, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, New York
1996 Alison Saar: The Woods Within, The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Alison Saar: Strange Fruit, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, New York
1994 Fertile Ground: Art at the Edge, High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia (traveling show); Catfish Dreaming', The Contemporary, Baltimore, Maryland (traveling show); Directions, Hirshorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; Myth, Magic, and Ritual: Figurative Work by Alison Saar, Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania; Alison Saar: Sculptural Portraits, Wall Works and Artists's Books, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
1992 Alison Saar: Allegorical Sculpture, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio; Alison Saar: Inside Looking In, Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Slow Boat, Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York
1991 Dreamin's, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1990 Alison Saar: Milagros Pequeños, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1988 Figures: Zombies, Totems, Rootmen and Others, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California, The New Gallery, Calgary, British Columbia, Canada, Thomas Barry Fine Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1986 New Icons, Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, New York; Soul Service Station, Roswell Museum of Art, Roswell, New Mexico
1985 Alison Saar: Shamen, Saints, and Sinners, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1984 Alison Saar: Relief Paintings and Sculpture, Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, New York
1983 Alison Saar: Icons of the Street, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Alison Saar, Peppers Art Gallery, Redlands University, Redlands, California
1982 Alison Saar: Sculpture, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 American Stories, Setagaya Art Museum, Japan (traveling show)
1996 Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia (traveling show); Myth and Magic, California Center for the Arts Museum, Escondido, California; Subjective Vision, Kipp Gallery, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania; A Labor of Love, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, New York
1995 Imaginary Beings, Exit Art, New York, New York; Art with Conscience, The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; Twentieth Century American Sculpture at the White House, Washington, D.C.
1994 Black Male: Representation of Masculinity in Contemporary Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; The Landscape as Metaphor, Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Colorado, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio
1993 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
1992 Horizons, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Beyond Glory: Re-Presenting Terrorism, Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore
1991 Sophisticated Innocence, Palos Verdes Art Center, Palos Verdes, California; The Art of Advocacy, The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut
1990 Secrets, Dialogues, Revelations: The Art of Betye and Alison Saar, Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles; Celebrations: Sights and Sounds of Being, Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in 1980s, New Museum, Studio Museum, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, New York
1989 Currents, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
1988 New Visions, The Queens Museum, New York, New York; Acts of Faith: Politics and the Spirit, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
1987 Mind's I, Asian Arts Institute, New York, New York; Passages: A Survey of California Women Artists, Fresno Art Center, Fresno, California
1986 Other Gods: Containers of Belief, The Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York (traveling show); Correspondance, Lafayette Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Contemporary Screens, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
1985 Messangers, University of Virginia, Charlottsville; Carnival: Ritual and Reversal, Kenkeleba House, New York, New York
1984 American Women Artists: The Recent Generation, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, New York; Precious Objects, University Art Gallery, University of Southern Florida, Tampa, Florida

Permanent Collections

Baltimore Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland; Harold Washington Library, Chicago, Illinois; High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Newark Art Museum, Newark, New Jersey; Peter Norton Foundation, Los Angeles, California; Philip Morris, New York, New York; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Trenton Museum, Trenton, New Jersey; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York

Publications

Acts of Faith: Politics and the Spirit. Cleveland, Ohio: The Art Gallery, Cleveland State University, 1988. Exhbn cat.

Brown, Betty-Ann. “Reviews: Alison Saar: Theatrical Imagery.” Arts Magazine 57 (October 1982), p. 27.

Cohen, Ronny. “Alison Saar.” Artforum 33 (November 1984), p. 105.

Curtis, Cathy. “Radical Differences in Two Black Artists.” Los Angeles Times, June 29, 1989, sec. 6, p. 1.